Ontario increases mental health funding to support students at Loyalist College



BELLEVILLE – The Ontario government is providing $316,146 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at Loyalist College. The funding will strengthen community partnerships, increase the number of mental health workers and programs, and immediately expand access for students to the provincial mental health and addictions system during COVID-19.

The announcement was made today by Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

“Students at Loyalist College are working hard to get the practical skills and training they need to be positive contributors and leaders within our local economy,” said Smith. “This funding ensures they have the support they need to focus on their studies in an environment changed by this pandemic.”

This funding is part of the province’s total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-2021. It will support more services for students on campus and virtually and it can also be used to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ students and students with disabilities.

“We know that college and university can be a stressful time for our students and that the COVID-19 outbreak has only increased the impact on their mental health,” said Ross Romano, Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities. “That is why we are investing more in mental health services to better meet student needs—creating the best conditions possible for students to achieve their goals.”

Providing mental health supports for postsecondary students is part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness, the government’s plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addiction system that ensures children, youth, and adults receive appropriate services where and when they need them.

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, President of Loyalist College, appreciated the investment.

“At Loyalist College, we care deeply about our students’ success and now more than ever, supporting their physical and mental well-being is crucial to empowering their overall growth and development. Coping with the uncertainties of an ongoing global health crisis creates additional challenges for students, so we are very grateful to the Ontario government for prioritizing mental health care,” said Vaughan. “I would like to thank Minister Romano and the Government of Ontario for this generous funding, which will allow us to expand student counselling services and add a dedicated outreach worker to enhance our mental health programming, conduct wellness checks and support mental wellness education.”


  • Over the last several years the mental health needs of postsecondary students have increased dramatically in Ontario. According to the last National College Health Assessment survey of the Canadian student population (2019):
    • 52 per cent of students reported feeling depressed, compared to 46 per cent in 2016.
    • 69 per cent experienced anxiety.
    • 12 per cent of Canada’s students had considered suicide, compared to 14 per cent in 2016.
    • 8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.
  • In October 2020, the Ontario government announced $19.25 million in mental health supports for postsecondary students. In February 2021, the Ontario government announced an additional $7 million in funding to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for postsecondary students during COVID-19.
  • The government’s total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-21 represents an increase of $10.25 million over last year.
  • The funding supports a variety of initiatives, including Good2Talk/Allo j’écoute, Ontario's bilingual mental health helpline which provides professional counselling and information and referrals to all students via telephone, text and live chat (new this year). It is available to all postsecondary students 24/7, 365 days a year.



Ontario's RED funding supports economic growth in Quinte region

For immediate release

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

BAY OF QUINTE - The Ontario government is providing $47,600 to the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) to increase awareness of the region's manufacturing sector among prospective employees, announced Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte.

QEDC will use the funding for promotional activities such as creating company profiles, using print, digital and in-store advertising, and creating a landing page to monitor job referrals.

"There are many good-paying manufacturing jobs with benefits available with employers across the Quinte region," said Smith. "As our economy recovers post-COVID-19, this program will be a valuable tool in connecting potential employees to available jobs."

The project is one of 16 supported through the province as part of an $800,000 investment in targeted funding through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program. 

“This new targeted funding is just one of the many ways our government is supporting job creation and economic development across the province,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re encouraging local economic growth by supporting projects that help expand businesses and provide skills development and training for employees. These kinds of investments are particularly important as we lay the foundation for our recovery from COVID-19.”

This intake was directed at upper-tier municipalities and not-for-profit regional organizations with a mandate focused on regional economic development. Qualifying projects would be eligible for up to 70 per cent of total costs to a maximum of $75,000 in provincial funding.

Supporting renewal, growth and economic recovery in rural and Indigenous communities is part of the government’s plan to get every region of Ontario back on track so they can create jobs, opportunity and prosperity for everyone.


  •  The intake was focused on projects that remove barriers to business and job growth, attract investment, attract or retain a skilled workforce, strengthen sector and regional partnerships and diversify regional economies.
  • The RED program supports projects with tangible benefits to rural and Indigenous communities that help to attract business, investment, and create jobs, while also providing greater value for taxpayers.
  • The RED program is helping rural communities and partners create more competitive economic environments so they can diversify and grow their local economies - making economic growth more inclusive.




Provide provides $5,946,200 to expand Hastings-Quinte community paramedicine programming


THURSDAY, FEB. 11, 2021

BELLEVILLE – The Ontario government is investing $5,946,200 over the next four years to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program to Hastings and Prince Edward counties. This initiative, delivered by Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services, will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for longer.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, and Daryl Kramp, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington announced the funding allocation today as part of an annual commitment of up to $54 million by the Province’s Ministry of Long-Term Care to expand the program to additional communities across Ontario following a successful launch in five communities last fall.

 “As we work to build and modernize long-term care capacity in our communities, this innovative program will ensure residents waiting for a bed receive regular care from specially trained paramedics,” said Smith. “This investment will provide seniors and their families additional peace of mind their care needs are being supported as they transition to long-term care.”

Kramp added the proactive program will also have a positive impact on local health-care services.

“Protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians is our top priority. This funding will help our vulnerable citizens stay at home and out of the hospital. That not only benefits them, but it also serves to eliminate hallway health care and ease pressures on our frontline health-care services,” said Kramp.

The program, which will be funded through 2023-2024, will provide:

  • Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports;
  • Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
  • Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents;
  • Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports.

Three-quarters of the $5,946,200 investment represents operational funding over the next four years, while the remaining allocation can be used to provide vehicles, equipment, and supplies.

Chief Doug Socha, of Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Services, said families receiving proactive care from paramedics within the community have strongly embraced the concept and expressed gratitude that the Province is providing new funding to expand the scope of programming to meet local needs.

“Our area has a high number of clients on the long-term care waitlist, and a high number of older adults living at home needing support,” said Socha. “We plan to immediately train additional community paramedics in the expanded clinical care protocols to add to our existing program so we can increase the care in the community.”

Rick Phillips, the Warden of Hastings County, was pleased to see this service extended to local residents.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news indeed,” said Phillips. “It will directly benefit people who are on waitlists for long term care by helping them stay in their homes longer and that is really important.”

“I want to thank Minister Smith and MPP Kramp who have been strong advocates for our community paramedic operations.  Their support was critical, I believe to today’s announcement.  Community paramedics play a critical role in supporting patients in their homes and have been on the frontlines of the battle against COVID 19.  With this new money they can do much more to support our residents across Belleville, Quinte West, Prince Edward County and all of Hastings County”

Carol Smith Romeril, Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer at Quinte Health Care, also applauded the news.

“This is an excellent initiative that will help keep people home where they are most comfortable, without having an extended hospital stay. This will help ensure individuals receive the right care in the right place, and help preserve hospital resources for those that need them the most,” said Smith Romeril.

Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, indicated the program is yet another way Ontario is collaborating with health system partners to innovate and meet residents’ care needs as the Province builds a modern patient-centred care model and responds to COVID-19.

“The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve.”