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


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

October 2023 | Holly Parsons

The current – and worsening – homelessness, addiction, and mental health crisis in Northern Ontario strongly indicates that current services and programs are not adequately addressing the needs of Northerners. There is little room in municipal budgets to provide additional dollars toward addressing this crisis. However, as this paper identifies, there are evidence-driven and economically viable strategies decision-makers can take to address these barriers and service gaps, both directly and indirectly. Three of these strategies are explored further:

  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.


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     This report was created as part of the Northern Analyst Collective. This project allows members to “time share” a professional policy analyst. By merging our collective resources we can ensure that the smallest municipality or local charity can access high-end skills at an affordable cost. For more information on the program click here.

    Related Research:

    Integration of Care in Northern Ontario: Patient Medical Homes, Rural Health Hubs and Evolving Ontario Health Teams

    A Case Study in Northern Governance: Local Decision Making in the Northern Ontario Health Care System

    The Merits of Supervised Injection Facilities: A case for Sudbury and Northern Ontario

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