Sudbury

James Bay health authority needs more provincial funding, NDP plead

New Democratic Party MPP France Gelinas is calling on the provincial government to increase funding for the health authority on the James Bay Coast.

Crisis on the coast: Funding shortfall cripples local health authority during mental health emergency

A local authority on the James Bay Coast is underfunded, says NDP MPP France Gelinas — and that puts children who suffer from mental illness at risk. (Erik White/CBC)

New Democratic Party MPP France Gelinas is calling on the provincial government to increase funding for the health authority on the James Bay Coast.

The Nickel Belt MPP and critic for Aboriginal Affairs says the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority is facing a $3.8 million shortfall, and wants the government to come up with a long-term solution for the organization.

She says the lack of funds could result in further cuts to programs and services, placing even more of a burden on short-staffed hospitals.
Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas is calling on the Ontario government to relieve a funding crisis for WAHA, the health authority servicing the James Bay coast. (Radio-Canada)

"I don't think that they were ever funded properly," says Gelinas, "so it makes the situation even more dire."

Gélinas specifically cites the lack of mental health workers for vulnerable youth.

"There are only six mental health workers for the entire coast," says Gelinas, "and none of them serve children under the age of 18."

"We have a crisis, and time is of essence," says Gélinas,

Liberal Minister of Health Eric Hoskins says that the government has committed $2 million for an emergency medical team comprised of mental health workers appropriate for youth, and dispatched them to the coast.

with files from Olivia Stefanovich. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges

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