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Toronto mayor calls for national summit to tackle mental health crisis

Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a national summit to address what he calls Canada's mental health crisis.
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Toronto Mayor John Tory, speaks during a press conference in Toronto, Monday, June 27, 2022. Canada's mental health crisis demands a national summit with representation from all levels of government, Tory said Wednesday, claiming a lack of provincial and federal support is offloading responsibilities onto "ill-equipped" municipalities.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a national summit to address what he calls Canada's mental health crisis. 

In a statement Wednesday morning, Tory says the summit would see mayors, ministers, premiers and the prime minister discuss how better to support people living with mental health and addictions challenges. 

Tory says, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of federal and provincial spending on mental health is "painfully clear" in Canadian municipalities. 

He says without adequate funding, mental health-care responsibilities are "offloaded" to municipalities, transit systems, shelters, police and hospital emergency departments. 

Tory says he first made the proposal directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in December. 

He says the best evidence of the ongoing mental health crisis is issues related to substance abuse, noting the thousands of people who died last year from opioid overdoses. 

"Three years ago, we confronted the COVID-19 pandemic and in that moment all governments worked together to help people and to help each other get through those tough times," Tory said in the statement. 

"Now we are facing a mental health crisis that requires that same level of dedication, co-operation and commitment." 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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