Ontario Expanding Addictions Services in Sioux Lookout

Press Release

Funding Will Improve Access to Specialized Addictions Services and Supports

March 15, 2022

SIOUX LOOKOUT — The Ontario government is investing $4.2 million through the new Addictions Recovery Fund to immediately enhance access to addictions treatment supports in Sioux Lookout. This funding will be provided to the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation to expand access to a total of 37 new addictions treatment beds and help hundreds of Ontarians in Sioux Lookout and the surrounding region access specialized addictions treatment.

“Our government remains steadfast in our work to provide Ontarians in the North with access to effective and culturally sensitive mental health and addictions services as close to home as possible,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Investing in mental health and addictions services in Sioux Lookout is just one more way our government is continuing to support vulnerable populations across the province with high-quality mental health and addictions care that addresses their unique needs on their journey to recovery.”

The Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord was founded in 2017 and is an agreement between Cat Lake First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, Slate Falls First Nation, and Kichenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, as well as the Municipality of Sioux Lookout. Funding through the new Addictions Recovery Fund will provide access to 15 new addictions treatment beds, 16 supportive treatment beds, and six withdrawal management beds.

Studies have shown that opioid-related deaths surged by 79 per cent during the first two waves of the pandemic, with rates being three times higher in Northern Ontario. To meet the demand for treatment, the new Addictions Recovery Fund will support almost 400 new addictions treatment beds across the province, helping to stabilize and provide care for approximately 7,000 clients per year. This includes clients in northern, rural and Indigenous communities. Addictions Recovery Fund investments in other addictions services and supports across the province include:

  • Eight new Youth Wellness Hubs offering developmentally tailored primary care and mental health and addictions treatment for youth ages 12 to 25;
  • Two new Mobile Mental Health Clinics to provide a full suite of mental health and addictions services directly to individuals living in remote, rural and underserved communities;
  • Three new police-partnered Mobile Crisis Response Teams to support individuals in a mental health or addictions crisis;
  • Support for Indigenous-led land-based healing services; and
  • Additional community supports including day/evening intensive treatment, mild to moderate intensive treatment, and after-care programs.

“Every year, more than one million people in Ontario experience a mental health or addictions challenge,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “That’s why our government is continuing to fulfill our commitment of making mental health and addictions a priority by investing in targeted addictions services.”

“Our government continues to make significant investments in high-quality addictions care across Northwestern Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Today’s $4.2 million investment for 37 new addictions treatment beds will allow the Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord to continue the critical work that they do as they help hundreds of people from communities across the region.”

Quick Facts

  • The $90 million Addictions Recovery Fund complements, but is separate from, the $175 million Roadmap to Wellness investment announced in the 2021 Budget, and is being invested over three years. Investments of $7.2 million are being made in 2021-22, and $41.39 million in each of 2022-23 and 2023-24.
  • As part of Budget 2021, Ontario is investing $32.7 million in new annualized funding for targeted addictions services and supports, including treatment for opioid addictions. This funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s comprehensive plan to build a modern, connected, and high-quality mental health and addictions system centred around the needs of individuals and their families.
  • As part of this $32.7 million investment in annualized funding, the Ontario government committed $18.8 million towards bed-based addictions services for adults and youth who need intensive supports. This investment included $7.85 million for a total of 90 new treatment beds determined through an Ontario Health-led provincial call for applications in summer/fall 2021.
  • In 2020-2021, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province invested up to $194 million in one-time emergency funding for mental health and addictions services.
  • The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million in Breaking Free Online, an innovative therapy tool that makes it faster and easier for Ontarians to access safe and effective addictions supports. Ontarians can register at www.breakingfreeonline.ca and have free access to programming and resources for two years. Mental health and addictions service providers can also register their patients for this service.
  • Ontario funds a wide range of community-based mental health and addictions programs and services through the Ontario Health regions. You can find more information about services in communities across Ontario through ConnexOntario online at www.connexontario.ca (chat and directory of services), by phone at 1-866-531-2600, Text/SMS CONNEX to 247247 or, through ConnexGO app, available on Android (Google Play) or iOS (App Store).
  • Visit COVID-19: Support for People to find information about the many available, confidential, and free mental health and addictions services and supports for Ontarians of all ages.


“Funding that supports facilities, programs and services which address mental health and addictions challenges in Sioux Lookout is critically important and welcomed. As well as in-community needs our role as a hub community multiplies issues in Sioux Lookout and underscores that services need to be culturally appropriate. This funding can only improve the opportunity for all of us to live with dignity.”

– Douglas Lawrance
Mayor, Municipality of Sioux Lookout

“This incredible investment in the North not only demonstrates Minister Tibollo’s commitment to doing the right thing but also doing things the right way. This partnership between the Province of Ontario and The Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord demonstrates the Province’s dedication to the empowerment of Ontario’s Indigenous peoples and giving us the tools we need to build healthy communities.”

– Jacob Dockstator
Executive Director, Sioux Lookout Friendship Accord Economic Development Corporation

Additional Resources

Media Contacts

Alexandra Hilkene
Minister Elliott’s Office

Anna Miller
Communications Division


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