My letter to the Ontario Minister of Health regarding the need for Community Health Services in Vanier

Honourable Christine Elliott

Minister of Health 5th Floor
777 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Dear Minister Elliott,

I want to thank you, and the Ontario Government, for the opportunity the Ontario Health Teams have brought to our communities. I am eager to see their ability to transform health services to residents in Ottawa.

I represent the Rideau-Vanier Ward in Ottawa comprised of three distinct neighbourhoods: Sandy Hill, Lowertown and Vanier in the city’s downtown core. These neighbourhoods are some of the lowest income areas in Ottawa, with Vanier lacking coordination and access to an array of primary health care services.

To date, I have spoken with several key health partners in Ottawa. My discussions with the CEO and Executives of Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa Inner City Health, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ottawa, Montfort Hospital, Ottawa Public Health, and the Vanier Community Services Center have all highlighted the same thing; Vanier needs community health services. The community is struggling with mental health and addictions issues with no access or coordinated supports available.

I write to you today to highlight the great needs of Vanier when it comes to Community Health Services. We see every day that there is a lack of coordinated care in the community. We continue to see a large amount of open drug use, overdoses and other mental health challenges. Individuals experiencing these issues do not have the supports we would expect from our governments.

While past intentions were to have Montfort Hospital be the health hub for residents of Vanier, their operation as a bricks and mortar hospital do not allow them to be an accessible community health partner.

To bridge this service gap, a health team made up of key community health partners, needs to be introduced in Vanier. The largest gaps we see are with isolated seniors, families and new Canadians in addition to those suffering from mental health and addiction issues. A community health model needs to be introduced in Vanier that allows centralized access to vital health services.

The Vanier Community Services Center has already established themselves as a core community service provider in Vanier, with space to grow. They provide housing supports, access to foodbanks, employment and youth services in addition to their newly introduced, and successful, Pediatric Health Hub in partnership with the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre. These types of initiatives show the success of strong partnerships and need to be expanded to serve a wider variety of needs in Vanier.

As the Ontario Health Teams formalize, it is essential that the needs of Vanier be part of the conversation at these tables.

We are asking for your intervention, to ensure Vanier is included within one of the Ottawa health teams and to ensure the residents benefit from a new and accessible community Health Service.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional information.

Councillor, Rideau-Vanier Ward

Mathieu Fleury

CC: Jack Kitts, President and CEO, Ottawa Hospital
Wendy Muckle, Executive Director, Ottawa Inner City Health
David Gibson, Executive Director, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
Tim Simboli, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association – Ottawa Bernard Leduc, President and CEO, Montfort Hospital
Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health
Michel Gervais, Executive Director, Vanier Community Services Center
Michael Mclellan, Chair, Board of Directors, Vanier Community Services Center Simone Thibault, Executive Director, Centertown Community Health Center

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