Ontario Improving Health Care Delivery in Corrections

On November 4, 2019, Ontario’s Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones, reaffirmed the government's commitment to work with health care experts and correctional staff to improve the quality of health care for inmates in Ontario's adult correctional facilities.

The ministry has created a Corporate Health Care and Wellness Branch to provide strategic oversight and health care knowledge expertise within correctional services, and to centralize all health-related roles and responsibilities for adult correctional facilities.  View media release.

$18.3 million in new funding will support those affected by mental health and addictions challenges in the justice sector, including:

  • Direct support for corrections staff to address operational stress injuries and other mental health challenges
  • New mobile crisis teams that will help police officers and other first responders manage sensitive situations when assisting people with severe mental illness
  • De-escalation tools and training for police officers to better respond to interactions with people with mental health and addictions issues
  • Training for corrections staff to help manage stressful situations with inmates who have mental health and addictions issues.

View Solicitor General's Announcement.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists have important services to support health care and rehabilitation for inmates in Ontario’s adult correctional facilities or in the correctional system.  The new Ministry branch provides an opportunity to promote these services within the newly focused mandate of improving health services.

Commitments to support frontline workers across the correctional system may also provide opportunities for occupational therapists to work with clients dealing with occupational stress or PTSD, roles that OTs are already playing amongst employers of first responders.

Occupational therapists interested to promote OT roles in these areas are invited to contact cbrenchley@osot.on.ca to express your interest.