Niagara Region's Chair not declaring mental health State of Emergency
Niagara Region's Chair is not declaring a mental health State of Emergency.
Council began debating the motion brought forward by Councillor Dave Bylsma during the last meeting, but it was ultimately deemed a reconsideration and failed to garner the two-third support needed to continue.
The initial motion was calling on Chair Jim Bradley to make the declaration regarding mental health, homelessness, and addiction in an attempt to get more support from the provincial government.
However, making the declaration would not have ensured that support would be forthcoming as the province can overrule the decision.
During the brief debate, Councillor Tom Insinna stated, "Declaring a State of Emergency, yes, that is one thing, but it doesn't do anything. There's no teeth behind it, there's no bite."
Regional staff noted programs centred on mental health and addiction treatment are predominantly funded by the Province, although Niagara Public Health does support educational and prevention programming.
Community Services Commissioner Adrienne Jugley also brought up that although homelessness programs are supposed to be funded by the province, the region has determined the funding is inadequate and the region does contribute some funds to the effort to address local needs.
Two local Conservative MPs, Tony Baldinelli and Dean Allison, had penned a letter urging Bradley to make the declaration, claiming it will be a helpful tool for them to convey the urgency when Parliament resumes at the end of November where they plan to call for funding increases, more support, and decreased waiting lists for the region.