January 26, 2022


The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), and the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association (NOSDA) jointly discussed the crisis of Homelessness, Mental Health, and the Opioid Crisis with the Provincial Government yesterday at the ROMA Conference. NOMA President Wendy Landry, FONOM President Danny Whalen, and NOSDA Chair Michelle Boileau shared with the six Provincial Ministers, Associate Minister, and two Parliamentary Assistants the experiences in our communities. Danny Whalen commented, “having the three organizations coming together today with over 20 individuals represented on the call shows just how important this is and the need to address these issues in the North.”


The three organizations shared with government a research paper written by the Northern Policy Institute titled “Solving the Homelessness, Mental Health and Addictions Crisis in the North”. This paper provided 8 recommendations: provide long-term funding for capital repairs on community-housing units, amend the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990 to define a ‘Northern Service Hub’ and provide additional funding to these hubs, establish a joint taskforce to collect data and intelligence on the underlying and systematic retention issues of healthcare professionals in Northern Ontario, support new and existing ‘Housing First’ programs, support new and existing Indigenous culturally sensitive community-housing facilities, establish a ‘Northern Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence’ to address the unique challenges of service and program delivery in Northern Ontario, contract a third-party operator for interfacility patient transfers to relieve the workload of paramedics, and establish mandated Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams in municipalities throughout Northern Ontario.


President Wendy Landry commented “it is important to take an all of government approach, to manage and find made in the North solutions to the Mental Health and Addictions Crisis”. Michelle Boileau commented, “we want to work with this government to ensure the right resources are put in the right communities to reach people who need the resources where they live”, further “above all, we ask that this government recognize municipalities and NOSDA as a partner in our collective efforts to address the growing mental health and addiction challenges.”


The three organizations shared personal experiences from their own communities to paint a picture of what the mental health, addicitons, and homelessness crisis looks like and how it is affecting people in every community across Northern Ontario. We are greatly appreciative of all the hard work and funding the government has given to help those in the North get the support they need but much more work is needed to ensure every person is receiving the best level of service regardless of where they live.


FONOM President – Danny Whalen – 705-622-2479
NOMA President – Wendy Landry – 807- 626-6686
NOSDA Chair – Michelle Boileau – 705-465-5026