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Revisiting Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Use in Northern Ontario; Moving Northern Ontario Communities Forward

Press Release

October 26, 2023 – Northern Ontario communities are experiencing a homelessness, addiction, and mental health crisis. As established in Northern Policy Institute’s paper, More than Just a Number: Addressing the Homelessness, Addiction, and Mental Health Crisis in

the North, current services and programs are not meeting the needs of northern communities. Further analysis was done in this report on the scope of these challenges; then eight policy strategies were recommended for government and community practitioners to address these issues within the Northern Ontario context. As a follow up to this initial paper, author Holly Parsons expands on three of these policy recommendations in the latest report

Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Use in Northern Ontario, Revisited.

The paper was completed in partnership with the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, and the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association.

This report lays out further ways to move the three recommendations forward and increase partnership among Northern Ontario communities to address these issues meaningfully. The three recommendations explored in this paper are as follows:

1. Amend the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990 to define a Northern Service Hub and provide additional funding to make it available in communities;

2. Support new and existing culturally sensitive community housing facilities for Indigenous peoples;

3. Establish a Northern Mental Health and Addictions Centre to address the unique challenges of service and program delivery in Northern Ontario;

“Homelessness, addiction and mental health issues in Northern Ontario are extremely complex and difficult to solve, in part, because they are largely interconnected,” states Parsons. “As such, coordinated policy initiatives, and action from various actors, is a must.”

This work was made possible through NPI’s Northern Analyst Collective program.

Want to learn more? Read the full report here:

Media Interviews:

Lead Analyst Tammy Borgen-Flood and NOMA President Wendy Landry are available for comment.

To arrange an interview, please contact:

Charles Cirtwill



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