SUDBURY -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced an additional $14.75 million to increase access to mental health and addictions services across the province in a news conference Thursday afternoon in Sudbury.

Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford and Michael Tibollo, the associate minister of mental health and addictions accompanied the premier for the announcement at Sudbury's Northern Initiative for Social Action.

"We know mental health is just as important physical health," said Ford. "Everyone, including our heroic frontline workers, can sometimes experience burnout, depression or anxiety. Even though you may feel alone or helpless, we want you to know that we have your back. If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of these amazing mental health and addictions organizations. They are caring, compassionate and knowledgeable people who can help.

The money will support community-based programs to help meet increasing service demand and is coming from the Supporting People and Jobs Fund.

The money will be distributed in three areas:

  • $7 million to expand in-person mental health and addiction services to bridge gaps caused by COVID-19, including congregate living and supportive housing
  • $4.75 million to support culturally safe services for Indigenous communities, with a focus on children and youth
  • $3 million to expand virtual and online services including addictions supports, Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) and an online peer support community for mental health

This is in addition to the $12 million in funding Ontario announced May 5 to expand virtual mental health services during COVID-19.

"Our government is expanding innovative and targeted mental health and addictions services to help people stay mentally healthy during these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, in a news release. “By making community-based, virtual and online mental health supports easily accessible, more individuals and families will be able to access the right mental health and addictions services they need, when they need it."

An additional $2.9 million will go to eight research projects aimed to support Ontario's COVID-19 response.

The focus of these projects include:

  • Supporting the mental health and well-being of families and children
  • Assessing the long-term health effects of COVID-19
  • Development of an app to better manage the care of patients
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of wearing masks to block the virus

"Our postsecondary and research institutions are the best in the world, and these worthy research project will ensure that Ontarians receive the supports they need most, when and where they need them," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

"From downtown Toronto to rural and remote communities in Ontario’s Far North, the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt right across this province, especially among those living with mental health and addiction challenges,” said Tibollo. “That’s why we’ll continue to enhance existing supports while exploring new and innovative services through ground-breaking research."

This is in addition to the 35 projects selected through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. Ontario is partnering with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to co-fund provinical projects through the federal rapid research grants.

More details to come, check back for updates.



Ontario Premier Doug Ford will be in Sudbury Thursday to make an announcement at noon.

He will be accompanied by Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford and Michael Tibollo, the associate minister of mental health and addictions.

They are holding the news conference at Sudbury's Northern Initiative for Social Action.

CTV News is there and is streaming live here.

On Friday, Ford is scheduled to attend the ground-breaking ceremony at Cote Gold in Gogama.

CTV News will also be there bringing you a live stream of the event.