KENORA—Today, Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora–Rainy River and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, joined the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to announce $244,097 in funding for their mental Health and Justice supports, also announcing $1,054,000 for the Kenora Chiefs Advisory for their support services to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation against Indigenous women and youth.
As part of the province’s continued investment in mental health, CMHA Kenora will be receiving an additional $244,097 to enhance programs related to mobile crisis and support, as well as Mental Health and Justice supportive housing. “These investments will enhance our local programs and help CMHA Kenora continue to make a difference in our community,” said Minister Rickford. “This investment will increase capacity for mobile crisis services that involve police-partnered response teams to support people in crisis and minimize their interactions with the criminal justice system.”Currently, CMHA has one full-time crisis response worker situated in Kenora. Today’s announcement of increased funding will allow for an additional full-time support worker to be added to the Kenora–Sioux Narrow–Nestor Falls service area.
“CMHA Kenora thanks our provincial government for committing additional funds to support vulnerable individuals in our community,” said Sara Dias, executive director of CMHA Kenora. “This much-needed funding will help justice-involved individuals with mental health and addictions issues who are in need of supportive housing and will enhance mobile crisis supports for the communities we serve. ”In addition to this funding, CMHA Kenora will also receive rent supplement funding from the Ministry for an additional 10 supportive housing units in order to further help these most vulnerable individuals.
Today, Minister Rickford also announced that Kenora Chiefs Advisory will be receiving $1,054,000for their Anti-Human Trafficking project to support wrap-around, culturally appropriate victim services for Indigenous children and youth (aged 13-24), including one-on-one support, counselling, referrals and mental health support.“Indigenous women and children make up a disproportionate number of those exploited through human trafficking in Ontario,” said Minister Rickford. “We are taking serious action to put an end to human trafficking in Ontario and ensuring victims in Northwestern Ontario have access to culturally appropriate supports and services as a part of our plan to combat this abhorrent crime. This funding today is part of the province-wide strategy to combat human trafficking. The Ontario Government is providing a total of $46 million for new community-based services, such as that being undertaken by Kenora Chief Advisory."
"We are very excited for this announcement to bring this new programming to Kenora Chiefs Advisory, to address these issues within our 9 members communities in a holistic way true to Anishinaabe cultural teachings," said Joe Barnes, Executive Director of Kenora Chiefs Advisory. "We worked closely in consultation with our communities and survivors of human trafficking to develop this program. The project will be focused on children and youth who have been trafficked, and we will also have continued engagement with survivors, community partners, Elders and our youth."
This is part of the government’s commitment to addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms, including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Earlier this year, Ontario unveiled its $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, which aims to raise awareness of the issue, protect victims and intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable