Province investing to support seniors . . .

MPP Jim McDonell . . .
MPP Jim McDonell . . .

Wednesday, July 17th - Seniors want to remain active and live independently in age-friendly communities that are open to their full participation. Yet many seniors face challenges accessing programs that support their mental health and well-being. With an estimated 17 to 30 per cent of older adults suffering from a mental health disorder, Ontario’s government is protecting what matters most by supporting the development of a new Seniors Mental Health and Addictions educational program.

        The government will be investing $250,000 to develop and deliver, with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), a new resource to help respond to the rising rates of mental health and addiction issues amongst seniors in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

        “This is another example of how our government is putting seniors first by providing essential supports and services to help improve their well-being,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “This is what a government for the people does – we protect what matters most to help seniors live healthy, active, safe and socially connected lives.”

        This educational program is being designed with seniors in mind after consulting with CAMH and other clinical subject matter experts, as well as community mental health and addictions service providers. Components of the program will include resource materials and a workshop series, which will educate seniors on common risk factors and prevention strategies, signs and symptoms of mental health and addiction issues, and how to access appropriate supports. It will be delivered across the province in community settings such as Seniors Active Living Centres by in-person facilitators with expertise in mental health and addictions in early 2020.

       “We are taking action to improve the dignity and quality of life for all seniors in Ontario,” said Jim McDonell, Member of Provincial Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “This new program will educate seniors on common risk factors and prevention strategies, signs and symptoms of mental health and addiction issues, and how to access appropriate supports in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.”

        “Our government is investing in frontline services by funding new mental health programs and services for seniors across the province,” said Minister of Health and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott. “This funding will fill critical gaps as we develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health strategy that better supports the complex needs of seniors.”

        “I look forward to working closely with Minister Elliott and Minister Cho to ensure that we provide effective mental health programs and services for our seniors,” said Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo. “Too many of Ontario’s seniors have waited too long for the mental health services they require. By investing in frontline programs and services, we will continue moving forward to create a mental health system in Ontario that fully supports our seniors.”

        This funding is part of the additional $174 million the government is providing this year to address critical gaps in services across Ontario and support patients and families living with mental health and addictions challenges.

        As Ontarians aged 65 and older are the province’s fastest growing demographic, it is important to educate seniors in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry to help prevent and address mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as alcohol addiction and opioid use disorder.

Province leads Canada in newborn screening with permanent hearing loss risk test

Ontario expands newborn screening . . .

Wednesday, July 3rd - Genetic factors and infections are the leading causes of permanent hearing loss for newborns and young children. That's why the Ontario government is stepping in to continue to deliver what matters most.  Babies across the province can get earlier diagnosis and interventions to improve their health outcomes.

        Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, was joined by Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues, at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to announce that the government is expanding Ontario's newborn screening program to include the permanent hearing loss risk test for earlier identification of babies at risk for hearing loss.

        "Ontario continues to be a leader in newborn screening and we are proud to be the first province in Canada to add the permanent hearing loss risk test for all newborns," said Elliott. "Some children are not born with permanent hearing loss but will develop it in early childhood. Adding this screen for common permanent hearing loss risk factors will enable earlier diagnosis and intervention and, in doing so, improve health outcomes for children across Ontario. Our government is protecting what matters most by ensuring that the smallest patients have access to the appropriate care and treatment at the right time."

        Newborn screening services are provided through Newborn Screening Ontario and completed by taking a blood sample through a heel prick from each baby between 24 to 48 hours after birth. The added screen for risk of permanent hearing loss will not require collecting additional blood. Ontario also provides universal newborn hearing screening for infants through the Infant Hearing Program.

        “We have access to the best possible solutions to remedy potential hearing loss, so it makes every sense to expand the screening for hearing loss in newborn and children,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

"We want to give the youngest Ontarians the best possible start in life" said Smith. "This collaboration between the Infant Hearing Program and Newborn Screening Ontario will place Ontario at the forefront of early detection and intervention for early childhood permanent hearing loss. We know that the sooner we can act, the better the outcomes will be for the smallest of patients and their families."

        "We know that undetected hearing loss can cause delays in a baby's ability to develop language and can lead to behavioural and emotional problems later in life," said Dunlop. "Identifying and responding to hearing concerns early leads to better outcomes and more efficient ways of providing services."

        Expected to be offered as of July 29, 2019, the new permanent hearing loss risk test will identify approximately 100 additional babies per year who are affected by, or at risk of, hearing loss.

        "Since CHEO was given responsibility for Newborn Screening Ontario in 2006, our dedicated and highly trained physicians and staff have screened almost 2 million babies to help them achieve their best life," said Alex Munter, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHEO. "We are pleased to add to that foundation to also support Ontario's Infant Hearing Program in strengthening hearing screening in our province."


Quick Facts:

   •  Newborn Screening Ontario coordinates a province-wide system that screens all newborns for a range of serious, treatable diseases and conditions, with over 145,000 screens annually.

   •  Since Newborn Screening Ontario was created in 2006, it has tested over 1.9 million newborns and identified over 2,500 babies who were subsequently diagnosed with diseases.

   •  The Ontario Infant Hearing Program identifies babies who may have or be at risk of developing hearing loss. Since 2001, almost 2.5 million babies have been screened across the province.

Queen’s Park Update – July 5th, 2019

MPP Jim McDonell
MPP Jim McDonell

                                        -   By Jim McDonell


Thursday, July 4th - I had the privilege this week to host a roundtable discussion alongside the Hon. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. We welcomed a number of local farmers to discuss a myriad of agriculture-related issues.

        The group highlighted several concerns, including excessive red tape, labour shortages, and factors detrimental to the quality of life, such as mental health. The government has already started to take steps to help those with mental health challenges. We are investing $3.8 billion over ten years for mental health, addictions and housing. I am confident the input the Minister and I received will result in solutions that will alleviate these concerns and help to strengthen and grow the agriculture and agri-food industry.

        The Minister’s visit to Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry also included a couple of very important events. A new facility opened at the Winchester Agricultural Research Station, giving crop farmers the latest research findings and crop technologies. The staff was on hand to showcase some of the important projects.

        I was thrilled to learn about the innovation taken by the Evans Portis Farm, which was awarded the Excellence in Agriculture Award. Their new processes utilize dairy by-products to produce their Vodkow vodka, as well as ethanol. I had a chance to sample their new innovative product and can verify its superior taste. This new process will help lessen the stress on the environment by reducing the volume of milk by-products requiring treatment and producing ethanol to fuel our transportation needs. 

        The Government recently designated June 27 as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day. We need to help people coping with PTSD to move beyond the stigma and on to the road to recovery. PTSD knows no bounds in terms of age, gender, culture or occupation. It can have a significant impact on all of us, but especially for those who have dedicated their lives to serving others. PTSD Awareness Day is an example of one more way the Government is supporting Ontarians on their journey toward mental wellness.

        The Ontario Government has been clear about its commitment to reforming the outdated education system. To this end, it announced a newly revised Grade 10 Career Studies Course this week and $2.25 million to help school boards with its implementation. This new course will provide students with the tools, resources, and curriculum, they need to succeed in their educational journey and into the future. The Government’s mission is to ensure our young people can develop the skills they need in a modern economy and help them find good jobs in Ontario. This mandatory course will include new crucial learning, focused on key areas needed for Ontario’s students to succeed in the modern world, like financial literacy, opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, social media usage, and coping skills to support mental health.

        These focused investments are a true reflection of our government’s commitment to ensuring the success of our students and ensuring they have the skills needed to attain good jobs.




 Jim McDonell

Parliamentary Assistant

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Ontario invests in growth and vitality
 . . .

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - Ontario sent a clear signal of its continued support for the growth and vitality of Francophone communities across the province by investing $1 million through the Francophone Community Grants Program.

        Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney, launched the 2019-20 edition of the program today, and invited francophone organizations and small businesses to submit applications for projects to help strengthen the sustainability of French-speaking communities.

Based on the feedback received from Francophone organizations, businesses and ministry partners in roundtables and meetings held across the province, the government has added an economic development and job creation component to the program. This new stream will help francophone entrepreneurs and businesses improve front-line services and better serve their French-speaking clients and partners. To make Ontario open for business and open for jobs, the program will also help train and retain skilled bilingual workers.

        In addition, the program continues to invest in local cultural and community initiatives, demonstrating the government's ongoing support for the Francophone non-profit sector, as well as Ontario's commitment to protecting and promoting the French language and culture.

        "This investment builds on our government's commitment to improving front-line services for francophones and is part of our plan to support and leverage the economic strengths of Ontario's Francophonie in order to create and protect jobs," said Minister Mulroney. "By investing in community, cultural and business projects, the program will help strengthen the vitality of francophone communities across Ontario."

        “We have a strong Francophone community in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. This is a great opportunity for us to enrich our culture and enhance our businesses,” said Member of Provincial Parliament Jim McDonell.


Quick Facts . . .

  • Ontario is investing $1 million in 2019-20 through the Francophone Community Grants Program.

  • Applicants can apply for grants of up to $25,000 under the Community and Culture stream of the program, and up to $50,000 under its Economic Development stream.

  • The submission period will close on August 19, 2019. Grant recipients will be announced in the fall.

  • Online information sessions will be held from late June to mid-July.  

Learn More . . . 

        To learn more and to register for an online information session, visit Grants Ontario.