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LETTER: Update on emergency for mental health, homelessness and addiction

Councils asked to pass motions around key social issues
Community activist Steven Soos.

ThoroldToday received the following update on the state of emergency for mental health, homelessness and addiction.

I would like to begin by sharing with the residents of Niagara the latest developments on the state of emergency for mental health, homelessness and addiction:

Kingston Council has declared a mental health and addiction crisis (City of St. Catharines declared mental health, homelessness and addiction an emergency AND a crisis).

I have asked West Lincoln council to consider declaring a mental health, housing affordability and addiction emergency. The motion I authored also calls for more support of Ontario developmental services sector and individuals and their families and staff who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The motion also calls for West Lincoln to support/endorse the following private member's bills:

  • (i) Bill C-207 (sponsored by MP Rachel Blaney) - An Act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to
  • housing).
  • (ii) Bill C-329 (sponsored by MP Heather McPherson) - An Act to establish a national framework
  • respecting attention hyperactivity disorder.
  • (iii) Bill 53 (sponsored by MPP Bhutila Karpoche) - Right to Timely Mental Health and Addiction Care
  • for Children and Youth Act, 2022. (June 26)

Thorold Coun. Carmen DeRose will be introducing a food security motion that we have put together based on a previous presentation to Niagara Region's Agriculture Policy and Action Committee where I was joined with Renee Delaney of Small Scale Farms. Our motion calls for:

  • The need for community supported agriculture to help address the issue of lack of nutritional food
  • Increase purchasing power around access to nutritional food, improved identification of local products in existing supply chains, development of new markets for local food
  • Greater support and promotion of Ontario's local food by re-exploring the labelling of foods that are genetically modified 

I have asked Niagara-on-the-Lake council to declare the same emergency as West Lincoln. The motion I authored for NOTL Council calls for the following:

  • That NOTL Council ask the Ontario Minister of Finance + area partner-wineries to consider warning labels for alcohol similar to legal tobacco and weed.
  • That NOTL Town Council endorses Bill S-233 (sponsored by Senator Kim Pate), an Act to develop a national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income.

Lastly, I have also submitted delegation requests to speak at Mississauga council and London council urging both municipalities to expand the growing numbers of Ontario municipalities declaring states of emergency on mental health, homelessness, addiction and recently, housing affordability.

Steven Soos
Niagara Advocate for Social Issues
Chair of the Welland Accessibility Advisory Committee