Remarks for Brian Rosborough, Executive Director
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
CMHA Ontario AGM
September 17, 2021
Good afternoon everyone and thank you for the invitation to join your meeting today.
This is an important opportunity for me to say how pleased we are at AMO to be working in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario in the service of our shared communities.
I was delighted when Camille reached out to me with an invitation to meet and discuss ways in which our two organizations could work together.
There really was no question that both organizations shared many common interests.
The MOU we recently signed is an important starting point for that collaboration, and loud and clear signal of the priority AMO places on an effective and comprehensive response to mental health in our communities.
Issues of mental health and addictions consistently top the list of concerns expressed by our members.
And to be more precise, what’s at issue is the lack of an integrated and comprehensive response to mental health – in terms of services, supports, prevention and equitable access.
Our members are more than 400 municipal councils from all parts of Ontario.
Collectively, they govern and provide key services for nearly a third of the population of Canada.
Virtually all Ontario municipalities - with the exception of the city of Toronto - are AMO members, and, of course, we work very closely with our Toronto colleagues.
Municipal councils have a major stake in mental health. Municipalities in all parts of Canada are:
- they’re community builders, and
- they’re engaged in economic development with a view to increasing participation in the economy and breaking down the barriers to social and economic participation.
That’s essential to the social and economic development in our communities.
In Ontario, municipal councils are further engaged because municipalities in Ontario deliver and co-fund a broad range of human services that encompasses:
- public health and paramedicine,
- childcare, seniors’ services, including part of the long-term care system,
- social assistance and employment services,
- affordable housing and shelter services, and others.
And, of course, that is in addition to police and fire services which come with their own particular challenges.
So municipal councils experience mental health and addictions issues in the context of:
- impacts on the community,
- the intersection of mental health with the services they provide, and
- the impacts on municipal employees.
And that’s why AMO consistently advocates for a whole of government response to mental health, and a comprehensive and integrated provincial response to mental health and addictions in our communities – and in all of our communities, regardless of location.
In that regard, I believe our organizations are well aligned, and that by working together, AMO and CMHA Ontario can have a powerful, influential, and amplified voice in these matters.
So, we look forward to working together, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work together, and we are very grateful for the work you do in communities in every part of Ontario.