The Ontario government is promising to expand mental-health and addictions support for frontline health and long-term care workers by investing $12.4 million over two years.
In its fall economic statement, delivered Thursday, the province acknowledged the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on these employees’ physical and mental well-being. “The COVID‐19 pandemic has had a significant impact on frontline health-care workers’ mental health,” said the statement. “In fact, the majority of health-care workers reported that their mental health has worsened since the start of the COVID‐19 pandemic. They need support now more than ever.”
The $12.4-million investment will target treatment options such as one‐to‐one psychotherapy and workshops provided by partners, including the Canadian Mental Health Association in Ontario, the Ontario Psychological Association and five hospitals. It will also support needs assessments, online peer support, workplace mental-health training and intervention services at select hospitals to help frontline workers whose mental health has been impacted by workplace and occupational stress.
In addition, the economic statement confirmed the provincial government’s proposed increase to the general minimum wage — from $14.35 to $15 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2022. And annual increases based on the Ontario consumer price index would continue to take place starting Oct. 1, 2022, if proposed legislation is passed.