• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Supporting Children and Youth with Complex Mental Health and Addictions Needs

February 27, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing up to $10.5 million to immediately expand the mental health Secure Treatment Program for the province's most vulnerable children and youth. This funding will enhance access to these services and add up to 24 new beds at the Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville and at the Roberts/Smart Centre in Ottawa. By expanding this program, an additional 52 children and youth with complex needs will receive direct mental health and addictions support each year. "Our government is continuing to fulfill our promise of making mental health and addictions a priority, and ensure Ontarians have the services they deserve - when and where they need them," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Today's investment in Ontario's Secure Treatment Program will help vulnerable children, youth and their families in their time of need and allow them to access supports faster." Ontario's Secure Treatment Program provides intensive care for children and youth experiencing acute and complex mental health and/or addictions challenges that may put them at risk of self-harm or harm to others. The expanded Secure Treatment Program will address gaps in care and improve access while decreasing existing wait lists and extensive wait times. The Syl Apps Youth Centre is expected to accept additional children and youth by the summer, while the Roberts/Smart Centre is expected to be fully implemented in 2022-2023. The province is also increasing annual base funding by 10 per cent at the Syl Apps Youth Centre, the Roberts/Smart Centre, as well as the Youthdale Treatment Centre in Toronto. "This much-needed funding will help expand Ontario's Secure Treatment Program, so that our most vulnerable children and youth can take that next important step in their journey towards mental wellness," said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "By investing today, we are closer to reaching our shared goal of building a modern, connected and integrated mental health and addictions system for the future. Our government remains fully committed to creating a system where all Ontarians, young and old, have access to the highest-quality supports that meet their unique needs." "The Secure Treatment Program is an essential part of the child and youth mental health system serving children and youth experiencing high-need and complex mental health issues who require intensive and in some cases life-saving treatment. I know firsthand just how important this investment will be to other Ontario kids and their families, who right now are facing long wait times for secure treatment and as a result often end up in the hospital in crisis," said Kimberly Moran, Chief Executive Officer, Children's Mental Health Ontario. "This is a critical step and we appreciate the Ministry of Health putting dedicated focus on this group of vulnerable children and youth, and look forward to continuing our work together to build up a comprehensive and connected mental health system for children, youth and families." This funding is part of the government's commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario's plan to establish a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system to serve Ontarians of all ages.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is on track to fulfill its commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years and will continue to make the investments necessary to support the mental health of all Ontarians.

  • Ontario has invested $350 million in new annualized funding for mental health and addictions services since 2019-20. In October 2020, the government invested $176 million to help expand access to critical mental health and addictions services, create new supports and expand programs, building on the $174 million invested last year for mental health and addictions programs. This includes hiring additional staff for over 80 child and youth mental health service providers and additional funding for youth wellness teams at 10 Youth Wellness Hubs across Ontario.

  • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province invested up to $194 million in emergency funding for mental health and addictions services, enabling more than 57,000 Ontarians to access the services they need during these difficult times, such as internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other virtual services.

  • Visit COVID-19: Support for People to find information about the many available, confidential and free mental health services and supports for Ontarians of all ages.


Additional Resources


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