Toronto's treatment of the mentally ill is "a scandal," according to Mayor John Tory, who on Friday spoke to city employees and reporters on issues including homelessness and the recent crackdown on illegal parking.
Tory went out Thursday night with Streets to Homes city outreach workers and, later on Friday, visited the Seaton House homeless shelter.
He told reporters he has learned, and continues to learn, about the overlapping issues of homelessness and mental illness.
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"The mental illness situation, overall in this city, and in this province, and in this country, is still in a state of being a scandal — in terms of the degree to which we don't provide the care people need," Tory said.
"I don't think any of us can properly put our heads on the pillow at night, especially those in elected office, until we've done everything we can to reduce those numbers."
"I've never seen the difference between someone with a heart ailment or a kidney ailment or has an illness of the brain we call mental illness — we wouldn't say to somebody with a heart ailment, 'Well, I hope you can do your best and good luck.' We would try and fix it," Tory added.
Tory came under fire from homeless advocates this week after two men died on city streets, though there has been no link between the deaths and a lack of city services.
A cold weather alert is in effect for Friday night, meaning additional shelter spaces will be open across the city.
Tory also responded to remarks made yesterday by his predecessor Rob Ford, who said the recent crackdown on illegal parking is nothing new and that the city has been "doing that for years."
"If he was doing it for years why was it necessary for me to start doing it?" Tory said.