Ontario Expanding Mental Health Services for Children and Youth in Newmarket and Aurora

Published on July 06, 2021


Ontario Expanding Mental Health Services for Children and Youth in Newmarket and Aurora

Investments Part of Government’s Plan to Reduce Wait Times and Burden on Hospitals



NEWS                                                                                                                             June 25, 2021

Aurora — The Ontario government is providing over $31 million to help improve access to specialized mental health treatment services, reduce waitlists and wait times, and support the mental health and wellbeing of children and youth by addressing the increased demand for services during COVID-19.

This includes funding for child and youth mental health service providers in Newmarket and Aurora, including:

  • Approximately $543,900 for York Hills Centre for Children, Youth and Families to provide additional counselling and therapy staff to support high needs, underserved communities including Indigenous child and youth clients. The funding will increase play therapy staffing for younger children;
  • Approximately $64,600 for Family Services of York Region to support counselling and prevention work with diverse and marginalized communities;
  • Approximately $18,500 for the Cedar Centre to support counselling and prevention work;
  • Approximately $38,300 to Southlake Regional Health Centre to support crisis counselling; and,
  • Approximately $3,000 to the Addictions Services of York Region to increase direct services for high needs clients in York Region.

The pandemic has been extremely difficult for many young people, including unique challenges for students. This funding will stabilize and expand existing services and will provide targeted investments in specialized mental health supports, improving access to innovative solutions to support the mental health and wellbeing of Ontario’s children and youth. It will ensure child and youth clients can receive in a timely manner the appropriate care in the right setting, improving outcomes and avoiding hospital admission. Provincewide investments include:

  • $20 million for an across-the-board five per cent funding increase for all government funded children and youth mental health agencies that provide core mental health and addictions services as well as select Indigenous and specialized services to increase access to supports and decrease wait times for these services to address high demand, particularly during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $3.5 million for the Step Up Step Down live-in treatment program for children and youth with complex mental health needs who require short-term supports to step down from hospital care to less intensive community-based services, or step up from less intensive supports to provide stabilization through intensive interventions.
  • $2 million for a new program to help children and youth who require additional one-on-one intensive treatment to transition in or out of specialized, live-in treatment programs, secure crisis units, and/or hospital.

This funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system to serve Ontarians of all ages.




“Our government continues to make mental health and addictions a priority by making critical investments to ensure children, youth and their families have access to the supports they need to stay mentally healthy during these challenging times. With this funding, we continue our important work through Roadmap to Wellness to enhance existing services and build a treatment network that will support children and youth, families, and communities in Newmarket, Aurora and across Ontario on their journey to wellness.”

Christine Elliott

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and MPP for Newmarket-Aurora



“Now, more than ever, it is critical that we make the necessary investments to support the mental health of our children and youth. Through our Roadmap to Wellness, we are focused on filling urgent gaps in mental health and addictions care and addressing extensive wait times for services. We are committed to creating a system where Ontarians of all ages have access to the highest-quality mental health and addictions supports, when and where they need them.”

Michael Tibollo

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions


“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant mental health challenges for all Ontarians, particularly families and youth. I am beyond excited that mental health service providers across the province are receiving over $31 million to address increased demand for services while continuing to deliver the highest quality care. Access to mental health services is incredibly important, and this much-needed funding through Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness will only strengthen and support our community here in Aurora. I applaud all mental health service providers who are ready to support our community whenever help is needed.”

 Michael Parsa

MPP for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill.


“This much needed investment from the provincial government supports organizations like York Hills in providing children, youth and families in York Region with the critical mental health programming to assist them in coping from the indirect impacts of COVID-19. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted already marginalized youth – including racialized youth, those from low-income families, and those with developmental disabilities. Services like virtual walk-in and intensive treatment along with other core mental health services agencies assist in ensuring that time-critical supports are provided to families in need that will ultimately build a treatment network which addresses short-term and long-term mental help. Child and youth mental health centres like York Hills are eager to work with the Government of Ontario on Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness with the shared goal of improving care, addressing inequities, simplifying access to treatment and reducing wait times.”


Dean Rokos and Steven Rebellato

CEO and President of the Board of Directors, York Hills Centre for Children, Youth and Families


“We are grateful for the Ontario Government’s recognition and support in providing the 5% increase to better serve children, youth, and their families particularly during this very challenging time. This funding will support evidence-based programming that will help to relieve families of the stresses that have increased significantly over the past year. This funding will also help to serve our diverse communities in York Region and some of the most marginalized “at-risk” populations who have been experiencing significant mental health challenges during this pandemic. On behalf of Family Services York Region’s Board and Staff, our sincerest thanks Minister Elliott for your ongoing support.”


Susan Warren

Director of Inclusivity and Community Development, Family Services York Region


“Investing in the mental health of children and youth is one of the most intelligent and compassionate investments that any society can make because it is an investment in the future. The recipients of Child and Youth Mental Health programs and services are OUR young people. As community members across the province of Ontario, we have a responsibility to keep our children and youth safe, to nurture their development, and to respond without hesitation when they need us. Today, the Ministry’s $31 million investment in programs and services that will provide additional mental health supports to children, youth and their families across the Province of Ontario is not only a significant commitment to this shared responsibility, but an investment in the brightest of futures.”


Alison Peck

Executive Director, Cedar Centre



“Southlake’s Child and Family Clinic provides individual and family therapy as well as psychiatric consultation to more than 200 children and youth per year. Our Urgent Clinic provides crisis management and stabilization supports to more than 50 children and youth each year. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, these sorts of services are more important than ever. We thank the provincial government for this support.”

Sherri Miller

Manager, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Southlake Regional Health Centre



“Addiction Services for York Region has been providing addiction and mental health treatment and support to the community for nearly 40 years. With COVID-19, we’ve seen one of our biggest surges in requests for help from children and youth. Addiction Services York Region is encouraged by the Roadmap to Wellness and the financial investments being made, since helping our youth and their loved ones affected by addictions is a priority that can’t wait.”

 Penny Marrett

Executive Director, Addiction Services York Region


"We are pleased that the Government of Ontario is recognizing the dire need to improve access to child and youth mental health treatment. Today’s commitment to increase funding of community mental health services will help to meet the growing demand of kids needing support for their deteriorating mental health now, through the summer and back to school in the Fall. We know through research, that many kids are not all right during this pandemic, and that there is an urgent need to address the inequitable impact of the pandemic on racialized and marginalized families.”

Kimberly Moran

CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario




  • This announced funding is in addition to the $10.5 million announced in February 2021 for the expansion of secure treatment services.
  • Under Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario has announced an increase of $525 million in annualized funding for mental health and addictions support since 2019-20. This includes $175 million for more mental health and addictions services and supports in 2021-2022 committed through the 2021 Budget, $176 million invested in October 2020 and new funding of $174 million invested in 2019-20.
  • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in 2020-21 the province invested up to $194 million in one-time emergency funding for mental health and addictions services, enabling Ontarians to access the services they need during these difficult times, including virtual supports which have been accessed by more than 75,000 Ontarians, including 32,900 who have accessed internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In addition, as of late April, over 6,800 health care workers have access mental health and addictions supports virtually, including peer group discussions, training and education, iCBT and support from clinicians.
  • Visit COVID-19: Support for People to find information about the many available, confidential and free mental health and addictions services and supports for Ontarians of all ages.