Rickford Encouraged by Expanded Mental Health and Addictions Services in Kenora and Rainy River

Funding Will Improve Access to Specialized Addictions Services and Supports

The Ontario government is investing over $667,000 through the new Addictions Recovery Fund to immediately enhance access to bed-based addictions treatment supports through the Kenora Chiefs Advisory and the Rainy River District Ontario Health Team. These new beds will help members of the Kenora Chiefs Advisory’s First Nation communities and residents of Rainy River and the surrounding region access specialized addictions treatment. The funding breakdown is as follows:

2021-2022 Fiscal Year:

Rainy River District Ontario Health Team – $131,400

2022-2023 and 2023-2024 Fiscal Years:

Rainy River District Ontario Health Team – $262,800

Kenora Chiefs Advisory Inc. – $273,750

“Our government recognizes the importance of making substantial investments in high-quality addictions care across Northwestern Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora-Rainy River. “Our $667,000 investment will help residents access specialized treatment that is culturally appropriate, and will improve the lives of people in our communities.”

“Ogimaawabiitong-Kenora Chiefs Advisory is now able to deliver land-based, supportive treatment programming, coming from an Anishinaabe approach to wellness and recovery, especially focusing on empowering young adults,” said Jennifer Dreaver, Chief Operating Officer, Kenora Chiefs Advisory. “This opportunity allows for greater options and flexibility for participants seeking treatment closer to their First Nation community. This much needed programming will be located at our Youth and Family Camp property located just outside the City of Kenora. We continue to lead in the development of a full continuum of wholistic care for all ages, and look forward to building on our established work as lead agency for one of the first 10 Youth Wellness Hubs in Ontario.”

“We are so grateful to now be able to provide this opportunity and programming from an Anishinaabe perspective, and grounded in our culture and our tradition,” said the Ogimaawabiitong Chiefs. “The Youth and Family Wellness Camp will be the home of this programming, and to have a space that allows for accessible programming closer to communities, and closer to home for those clients is something we have worked long and hard to achieve. As always, all these programs are designed and set up by seeking guidance from our elder, our youth and our community members so we make sure we are providing services for them, that for work them. We work closely in partnership to make meaningful change, like this announcement. As you can see in our recent documentary ‘The Journey Home’, we actively go out of the box in terms of our planning, and strategy. Our biggest focus is providing healing to our community members from a grass roots lens, and making sure they feel supported holistically.”

Studies have shown that opioid-related deaths surged by 79 per cent during the first two waves of the pandemic, with rates being three times higher in Northern Ontario. To meet the demand for treatment, the new Addictions Recovery Fund will support almost 400 new addictions treatment beds across the province, helping to stabilize and provide care for approximately 7,000 clients per year. This includes clients in northern, rural and Indigenous communities. Addictions Recovery Fund investments in other addictions services and supports across the province include:

Six new Youth Wellness Hubs offering developmentally tailored primary care and mental health and addictions treatment for youth ages 12 to 25;

Two new Mobile Mental Health Clinics to provide a full suite of mental health and addictions services directly to individuals living in remote, rural and underserved communities;

Three new police-partnered Mobile Crisis Response Teams to support individuals in a mental health or addictions crisis;

Support for Indigenous-led land-based healing services; and

Additional community supports including day/evening intensive treatment, mild to moderate intensive treatment, and after-care programs.

“Both before and during the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in demand for high-quality addictions care that addresses the unique needs of vulnerable populations across Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This historic investment is an important step forward to protect our progress in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that individuals and families region have targeted, reliable access to the help they expect and deserve.”