QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain) released the following statement in response to the province freezing budgets for mental health and addiction programs in Hamilton at a time when the city is seeing increased need for these services:
“People are living through extremely hard times at the moment. The pandemic was an emotionally and mentally tough time for everyone – families, young people, elderly and the most vulnerable among us. Now we’re also living through a high cost of living crisis, and stress levels for people are through the roof.
The double whammy of the pandemic and high inflation led to a spike in addiction rates, and opioid deaths. The government should be seeing these numbers and hear people crying for help. It’s cruel for Mr. Ford to freeze budgets that will force local mental health and addictions services to make staffing cuts when these programs are a lifeline for so many Hamiltonians.
Even before this budget freeze, the wait lists for mental health and addiction services was staggering – six months to a few years. We should be shortening the wait time for mental health and addictions services in Hamilton, not leaving people to struggle without support for longer. This isn’t the time for cuts – Mr. Ford should immediately reverse his decision to freeze the budget and instead commit to more investments.”