Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence

We are building a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system for Ontario.

The Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence oversees the delivery and quality of mental health and addictions services and supports. This work includes:

  • managing the system
  • supporting quality improvement
  • disseminating evidence
  • setting service expectations

To guide this work, we partner with:

  • other mental health and addictions organizations
  • people with lived experience
  • health care providers and administrators

The Role of the Centre of Excellence

Our role is to ensure that mental health and addictions services are:

  1. delivered consistently across the province
  2. integrated with the broader health care system
  3. more easily accessible
  4. responsive to the diverse needs of people living in Ontario and their families

To do this, we will:

  • establish a central point of accountability and oversight for mental health and addictions care
  • create common performance indicators and shared infrastructure to disseminate evidence and set service expectations
  • standardize and monitor the quality and delivery of evidence-based services and clinical care across the province
  • provide support and resources to Ontario Health Teams as they connect people to the different types of mental health and addictions care they need

We will also help implement the Roadmap to Wellness, the province’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system.

Why Our Work Is Needed

Every year, more than one million people in Ontario experience a mental health or addictions challenge requiring care1. Often, supports are difficult to find where and when they are needed.

For many people, the emergency department is their main point of access to care:

  • Among people in Ontario who visited the emergency department in 2017/18 for a mental illness or addiction, 9.5% – or nearly 18,300 people – visited four or more times in a year2.
  • For many, their first contact for mental health and addictions services was in the emergency department – 31.9% for adults and 40.4% for children and youth in 2017/182.

Care in the community is in high demand:

  • In 2015/16, more than 121,000 children and youth accessed services in their community.
  • The average wait time for these services ranged from 2 days for crisis services to 98 days for intensive services3.

The demand for mental health supports has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, approximately 20% of Ontarians ages 15 and older reported having fair or poor perceived mental health4 and 30% reported their current mental health is somewhat worse or much worse than before the pandemic5.

Unlike other parts of the health system, mental health and addictions has historically lacked a provincial coordinating body overseeing quality and delivery. This has contributed to many challenges, such as:

  • inconsistency in what services are available by region
  • uneven client and family experiences and outcomes
  • lack of data to show where to improve

The Centre of Excellence will address these challenges.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence, please send us an email.

Please do not send us your medical information – including healthcare number, diagnosis, treatment plans – or other personal information or attachments.

Last Updated: September 1, 2023