Canadian psychiatrists welcome recent election promises for mental health care

Canadian psychiatrists welcome recent election promises for mental health care


Attention: News, Health, Medical and Lifestyle Editors

Sept. 26, 2019, Ottawa— As the federal election campaign approaches its mid-point, the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) welcomes Monday’s commitment by the Liberal Party of Canada to increase federal investments in health care, particularly its promise to set national standards for access to mental health services.

“It is vital to track progress on wait times, as well as key clinical and outcome indicators to improve overall health system accountability and transparency, promote innovation, assess performance, and measure impact of government investment,” said Dr. Georgina Zahirney, CPA president.

Mental health care in Canada has been systematically underfunded for decades, notwithstanding the federal government’s commitment of $5 billion over the next 10 years for mental health initiatives in the 2017 budget.

“Stigma and discrimination contribute to structural inequities in the health care system, including disparities in funding and access to care. These inequities have a profound impact on the health of the 7.5 million Canadians who live with a mental health problem, as well as the nation’s economy. Timely and equitable access to appropriate, evidence-based mental health care and treatment are overdue,” said Dr. Zahirney.

Previously in the campaign, the New Democrats and the Green Party called for expanded coverage of mental health care services and universal pharmacare. The Conservative Party has pledged to increase health transfer payments to the provinces and territories by three per cent a year, and invest in diagnostic equipment. These are all welcome commitments.

Canadians have a right to timely, patient-centred care for their physical and mental health needs. Those who are affected by mental illnesses are worried about access to care and treatment, and will vote for the federal party that they believe has the best plan for health care.


The Canadian Psychiatric Association is the national voice for Canada’s 5,200 psychiatrists and more than 900 psychiatric residents. Founded in 1951, the CPA is dedicated to promoting an environment that fosters excellence in the provision of clinical care, education and research.

Contact: Rob Cornforth
Manager, Communications
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Tel: (613) 234-2815 ext. 237
Cell: (613) 853-5575