O’Toole pledges more mental health funding for provinces

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Published August 25, 2021 at 10:27 am

BRANTFORD, Ont. — Erin O’Toole says a Conservative government would work with the provinces to invest in mental health, transferring them enough funds for an additional one million Canadians to receive treatment each year.

The Conservative leader’s pledge comes amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has taken a toll on well-being, and is part of a broader promise of $60 billion more in health transfers over the next decade.

It forms one of the Tory leader’s five election platform “pillars” and colours an emerging self-portrait of a compassionate Conservative focused on jobs and prosperity as well as wellness and addiction.

Ahead of a campaign stop today in Brantford, Ont., O’Toole repeated his plan to offer a tax credit to employers for 25 per cent of the cost of mental-health coverage, create a suicide prevention hotline and fund charities with $150 million in grants over three years to deliver wellness programming.

A Statistics Canada survey from March found that one in five Canadians screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder following a year of lockdowns, social isolation and economic precarity.

The Liberal budget from April earmarks millions to government bodies to develop national mental-health service standards and back support projects for groups “disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” while the NDP is promising mental-health care for uninsured Canadians.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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