NOLUM Sits Down with Minister Tibollo 
On August 4, 2021, Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors (NOLUM) sat down with Minister Michael Tibollo, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, to discuss the opioid crisis that is plaguing northern Ontario communities. 

Attending the meeting in-person or virtually, the group raised their concerns with respect to the services and funding needed in their communities to help battle the opioid addiction crisis their residents are facing. The opioid addiction issue is not unique to one community and the NOLUM group is working together with one voice to bring attention to the Provincial and Federal governments. 

“The message was clear to Minister Tibollo that we need help and we need it now.  It is an urgent crisis and waiting any longer will only progress the issues we are facing”, said Mayor George Pirie. “We are hopeful to hear of the funding available to upgrade current infrastructure and expand services.”

Minister Tibollo advised the group that there are currently 240 recovery beds in Ontario and he’s is hopeful to bring that number to 1,000 beds.  Roughly $14 million more of annual operating dollars will be directed by the province to support the costs of additional beds and expanded addiction treatment programs. 

Mayor Christian Provenzano addressed an issue facing the City of Sault Ste. Marie.  He said that violent crime is increasing with respect to supply and drug dealers.  While the issue of adding recovery beds is urgent, police budgets are facing an all-time high and at this rate, without bringing forth any change, will continue to rise.  

“I believe that the Minister understands the acute and immediate need to address the addictions and mental health challenges being felt across Northern Ontario," said Mayor Brian Bigger of Greater Sudbury. "I am encouraged, knowing that Minister Tibollo is responding to our call to action.”

“All the northern Mayors are facing the same issues in their communities,” added Mayor Pirie. “Being able to sit down as a group with the Minister, we were able to present a unified voice.  We are hopeful that the help we need is coming and we can continue to battle this crisis in our communities.” 
Posted by Lisa Greer On 8/11/2021 at 10:02 AM  

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