Health care is primarily the responsibility of the provinces. Provincial health ministers, education ministers, and premiers are some of the key decision makers that affect mental health policy. There are important exceptions to provincial responsibility for health.
The federal government has significant influence on legislation that impacts mental health-related areas, for example: substance abuse, youth criminal justice, etc. The federal government may also legislate on health matters that could impact other provinces if one province failed to address a health issue, and may use their federal spending power on “initiatives of concern.”
Health Canada is also responsible for the health care of Indigenous peoples living on reserves and Corrections Canada looks after the care of those who are incarcerated in federal prisons.
You can read more about the role of the federal government’s role in mental health in this Library of Parliament publication.
Different Levels of Government
A summary of the Federal Government’s mental health client groups, which include: First Nations peoples on reserve and Inuit communities, prisoners in the federal correctional system, the Canadian forces, veterans, the RCMP, some classes of resettled refugees, and federal public service employee, can be found here.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada argues that municipalities can: provide first responders with tools needed to appropriately respond to mental health issues, improve integration of services and increase quality of life, create healthy workplaces, reduce stigma, change municipal policies to support citizens’ mental health, and take into consideration a “Housing First approach” to end chronic homelessness.
More information can be found here.
Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)
- More municipalities information can be found here
- MHCC leads the development and implementation of innovative programs and tools to support the mental health and wellness of Canadians
How to Engage?
- Join the Board of Directors
- Apply to be on the Advisory Council
- Apply to be on MHCC’s Hallway Group
- Use the resources and materials provided to gain a more in-depth understanding of mental health issues in Canada
- Attend their events
- Sign-up for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
- CMHA provides a multitude of tailored services within each community to support folks with mental illness develop “personal tools" to lead meaningful and productive lives
Follow this link to get involved by:
- Donating to CMHA
- Registering online
- Hosting a fundraising event
- Finding a career within their national, provincial or regional branches
- Signing up to Volunteer!
Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH)
- CAMH is a teaching hospital & research centre
- Extensive information about mental illness and addiction
- Important resources & tips for frontline workers
Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness & Mental Health
- CAMIMH non-profit organization comprised of health care providers and organizations, which represent individuals with lived experience of mental illness
- They are volunteer run and aim to facilitate a national conversation on mental illness
- They can provide you some resources for reducing stigma and increasing conversation about this important issue
There are many organizations that are dedicated to specific disorders, mental illnesses, or vulnerable populations.
A few of which are: