Our advocacy has included on a municipal level many meetings with Ottawa Public Health, many City Councillors, and the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson. Through many meetings with Ottawa Public Health we are encouraged by a decrease in the time delay in reporting fentanyl overdoses, and a commitment to work together to provide education awareness for fentanyl and other opioid use disorder prevention strategies.
On a provincial level, in addition to a close working relationship with We the Parents honorary chair, MPP Lisa MacLeod; our Founder and Executive Director, Sean O’Leary, has met with the Ontario Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, as well as the Ontario Minister of Children and Youth, Michael Couteau. MPP MacLeod also brought up concerns of which We the Parents have made her aware, both through letters to the aforementioned Ministers as well as the Premier of Ontario, and through questions in Question Period. We are encouraged by an announcement for $2.5 million in increased funding for Ottawa to combat this crisis, verbally made by Premier Wynne to Mayor Watson on March 6, 2017, however we are still waiting to hear what details surround this funding announcement and when we can expect the support to come to the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health.
On a federal level, we have had the opportunity to meet with Minister of Health, Jane Philpott and Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth). We the Parents Founder and Executive Director, Sean O’Leary, as well as WTP President, Steve Cody, were able to apprise them of the need to expand and enhance support facilities and services for children and young adults who need urgent care to support their struggle with substance use disorder and other mental health issues. Additionally, Josh Clatney and Paige O’Leary, We the Parents Youth Outreach Chairs, were able to speak with Minister Philpott and MP Schiefke on their experiences and views on this issue. At that time, Minister Philpott was presented with a letter on behalf of We the Parents asking for increased funding to assist the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre in their expansion efforts, which would add 25% to the total treatment beds in Ottawa as well as some much needed detox/withdrawal beds.