The Houston government has taken its first step to keep its election campaign promise to provide publicly funded access to mental health and addictions care for all Nova Scotians.
Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health and the MLA for Cape Breton East introduced changes to legislation that enable the government to establish insured service programs to deliver mental health and addictions his care as part of a publicly funded healthcare system.
The amended Health Services and Insurance Act provides the legal framework for insured healthcare services in Nova Scotia, including Medical Services Insurance (MSI) Plan. “With these legislative changes, we're able to tap into the capacity that exists in our private sector, making important mental health and addictions services available to everyone - not just those who can afford to pay," said Comer. "We're investing in our formal healthcare system, launching new and innovative tools and supports, and funding community-based organizations, all of which are connecting more people to the care they need.
The updated legislation considers mental health and addictions care as important as physical health care. The government says it will also reduce red tape, allowing faster implementation of new programs and services, and remove outdated language based on gender.
Comer says the expanded services will likely start during the 2024-25 fiscal year.
In 2021, Nova Scotia became the first province in Canada to commit to universal mental health and addictions care for all its residents, and the first to appoint a dedicated minister to deliver on the commitment.
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