Issues & Advocacy

We are the voice of members and Ontarians on community-based mental health, psychosocial, family intervention and prevention services.

Key Issues

Family Service Ontario is the voice of its family service agency members to ensure government, funders and decision makers are informed about the needs of Ontarians related to community-based mental health and wellness services.

We promote the value of family service agencies and the role they play as an integral part of the social service ecosystem.

For decades family service agencies have served Ontarians with walk-in and quick access clinics, psychotherapy, psychoeducational and support programs. We pride ourselves in our ability to provide inclusive, responsive, and timely service, with a goal of ensuring no one is left behind. We accomplish this using charitable and fundraised dollars, a variety of government funding and sliding-scale fees. But we, along with the other services that play a vital role in the mental health eco-system, are simply not keeping up the growing demand in communities across Ontario.

Our services provide a significant return on investment and are a cost-effective solution to the stressors on our health, child welfare and judicial systems. We advocate for government funding to support sustainable programs that will serve our current and future generations. Without a commitment by government to make mental health counselling available to all who need it the burden of suffering across our communities will continue to grow, as will the wait lists for services for those without benefits or means to pay.

We continue to advocate for funding that provides family-focused, holistic, and professional interventions to support the well-being of individuals, couples, families, and communities across Ontario.

We believe that sustainable change happens within the context of supportive relationships. Good mental health and well-being depends on our ability to have meaningful relationships with partners, friends, families, and communities.

Our member agencies provide services that are easy to access, efficient and cost effective. We believe that when children, youth and adults have stable and supportive relationships, they are more capable of achieving mental and financial well-being. As a province we cannot afford to have families not support each other.

Family Service Day

The highlight of Family Service Ontario’s annual conference is Family Service Day at the Ontario legislature. The goal of the annual event is to raise the profile of the difference family service agencies make to the lives of ¼ million Ontarians each year.

As a network, we are a key stakeholder in the development of solutions to address the issues affecting Ontarians. We see ourselves as partners, able to inform and support government priorities.

Family Service Day is an opportunity for member agencies and their volunteer board members to engage in dialogue with our four key ministries – Ministry of Health, Ministry of Attorney General, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and Women’s Issues, as well as all MPP’s and their political and senior-level policy staff.

Ministry of Health and Ontario Health Teams

  • Funding for quick access mental health walk-in counselling for individuals with mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
  • Improved access to mental health services through a community-based, sustainable, and coordinated system of care.
  • Funding for mental health counselling and psychotherapy as an employment support for individuals and their families on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Plan.

Women’s Issues

  • Inclusion as a stakeholder in roundtables and policy development for issues related to domestic violence and the continuum of violence against women services.

Ministry of Attorney General

  • Annualized funding for psychotherapy for male survivors of sexual abuse.
  • Development of a differential response approach to the Partner Assault Response Program.
  • Economic adjustment to stabilize Partner Assault Response Program.
  • Enhance funding for diversion, alternative dispute resolution and civil remedies.

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

  • Funding for individual and family psychotherapy for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Annualized and provincial funding for individual, couple and family psychotherapy for families involved with child welfare.
  • Development of a new domestic violence action plan.
  • Funding for conjoint counselling for couples. experiencing conflict, as part of an early intervention program for families at risk of intimate partner violence.
  • Funding for supports for men who are victims of child abuse, or have witnessed abuse and are at risk of perpetrating violence against women and/or children.
  • Providing a continuum of social support for vulnerable newcomers to the province.