Ontario Expanding Substance Abuse Program for African and Caribbean Canadian Youth


The Ontario government is investing $2.9 million to enhance and expand the Substance Abuse Program for African and Caribbean Canadian Youth (SAPACCY) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and seven new satellite locations across Ontario, as part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement Roadmap to Wellness.

The expanded program will protect our progress by improving access to culturally appropriate mental health and addictions care for African and Caribbean Canadian youth who are dealing with problem substance use and mental health concerns, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through Roadmap to Wellness, our government is delivering on our commitment to ensure all Ontarians have access to high-quality, easily accessible mental health and addictions support,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Investing in programs such as the Substance Abuse Program for African and Caribbean Canadian Youth is one more way our government is continuing to expand and enhance culturally appropriate mental health and addictions services that are centred around the needs of individuals and their families.”

SAPACCY provides a wide range of culturally safe services and supports to African and Caribbean-origin youth, offering assessment, individual and group treatment, and counselling to assist youth in reducing harm and making the best choices for themselves and their families on the path to recovery. The program has been shown to improve health outcomes for youth, reduce stigma and barriers to care and increase early intervention and timely access to culturally safe services. The program serves Francophones, LGBTQQ2SI+, disconnected youth, and youth impacted by significant trauma including community violence.

This funding will help to enhance current program levels and expand services through the creation of new community satellite locations in Hamilton, Ottawa and Windsor. Additional satellite locations previously announced are in Etobicoke, Peel, Scarborough, and North York. It will also support the recruitment of counselors, therapists, case managers, outreach workers, and site coordinators, as appropriate.

“In a year unlike any other, we’ve seen an increased demand for high-quality mental health and addictions care that addresses the unique needs of Ontario’s most vulnerable youth,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This investment will help protect our progress in the fight against COVID-19 by ensuring SAPACCY clients have better access to culturally appropriate and safe services, in a setting where they are fully supported in their journey towards recovery.”

Our government is committed to supporting all Ontarians on their journey to wellness by investing in services across the continuum of care, from prevention to recovery, to make it easier for people to find and access support when and where they need it. This includes expanding services for children and youth, justice-related services, mobile crisis teams, supportive housing and programs supporting at-risk populations.

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