Number of days to election: 30

Number of Ontarians demanding funding parity for mental health: 10,000+ 

(Niagara, May 7, 2018) – If there’s one simple thing you can do for Mental Health Week (May 7-13), it’s join the 10,000 other Ontarians who’ve signed CMHA’s online petition urging political parties to fund mental health and addictions care like physical health care.

With a provincial election one month away, now is a crucial time to add your voice and demand funding parity. Visit and sign the petition.

“We all know someone who’s been touched by mental health issues. Whether it’s a challenge you’ve experienced personally, or through a family member, friend or colleague,” said Tara McKendrick, Executive Director, CMHA Niagara. “Do you want to see a mental health system that is stronger and more responsive to those seeking help? Sign the petition and let candidates know that this issue will influence your vote. Make your voice heard.”

CMHA branches across Ontario are participating in the Erase the Difference campaign because they’ve seen first-hand how the mental health and addictions system is struggling to keep up with demand for service.

Despite evidence of the heavy burden of mental illness on society, the mental health and addictions sector has always been chronically underfunded compared to other parts of the health system.

Last year, for example, Ontario devoted just 6.5 per cent ($3.5 billion) of a total $54-billion health budget to mental health and addictions.

Chronic underfunding means the system is ill equipped to help when people come forward looking for help. Service providers often can’t intervene early enough, meaning many people struggling with mental health and addictions issues reach a crisis point and end up in an emergency department or involved with the justice system.

The good news is that so far in the pre-election campaign, political parties have made mental health and addictions care a key issue with funding announcements or platform commitments.

“That’s why we need to keep pushing the Erase the Difference campaign. We want to ensure that political parties are committed to improving mental health and addictions care in this province,” said McKendrick. “We want them to see that this is a voting issue for thousands of Ontarians.”

CMHA encourages social media users to share the Erase the Difference campaign online with their networks.

To help, CMHA has created a public toolkit that contains social media posts and other materials for sharing. The public toolkit can be downloaded at

Fast Facts:

  • Over 4,000 Canadians per year die by suicide – an average of almost 11 suicides a day. Approximately 45 people die by suicide in the Niagara Region every year – an average of almost 9 suicides a day.
  • The burden of mental illness in Ontario is 1.5 times that of all cancers combined and more than seven times of all infectious diseases.
  • In Ontario the annual cost of alcohol-related health care, law enforcement, corrections, lost productivity, and other problems is estimated to be at least $5 billion.


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Kaitlyn Daw

Communications & Events Facilitator

Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara Branch

T: 905-641-5222