Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliot announced today that Ontario is doubling its funding to Pine River Institute — taking the number of publicly-supported beds from 29 to 59.
Ontario Government announcement in front of Pine River Institute’s new dormitory Moffat House. From Left to Right: Adrienne Spafford, CEO Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Edyta Pacuk, Board Chair Pine River Institute, Hon. Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Hon. Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, MPP Dufferin-Caledon. Photo: Peter Power
“Supporting the health and well-being of children and youth has never been more important,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, at the Pine River Institute campus in Mulmur. “We know that when children and youth are struggling, communities and families are struggling as well. That’s why I am very pleased to announce today that our government is providing over 4.2 million dollars in additional funding annually to support the expansion of Pine River Institute’s mental health and addictions treatment for youth.”
Noting September is Ontario’s first Recovery Month, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, said the investment is part of the province’s commitment to fill urgent gaps in mental health and addictions care, and ease waitlists.
“Through the expansion of Pine River Institute’s addiction treatment centre, youth living with addiction challenges will have better access to high-quality supports that meet their unique needs, in a specialized setting where they are cared for and fully supported,” said Tibollo.
For Pine River Institute, the investment could not be more timely.
“This is fantastic news for Pine River and all the new youth and families that we will be able to support,” said Edyta Pacuk, Board Chair, Pine River Institute. “PRI has consistently had a waitlist that far exceeds our capacity and the pandemic has shone a light on the growth of addiction and mental health concerns, generally and with youth in particular. And we know that the post-pandemic world will likely see even more adolescents struggling with these issues.”
It’s been 15 years since PRI opened its doors to our first students. In that time, we have focused on refining our clinical approach, learning from our research and evaluation, and expanding our scope to impact families before they need our service.
Pine River is the only program of its kind in Canada, combining:
- a wilderness experience
- a residential stay that allows youth to take the time they need to equip themselves for the future
- a focus on family and caregiver involvement
- aftercare support to help with the transition back home and to the community
We help adolescents struggling with addictive behaviour and other mental health issues to reclaim their lives, their families, and their futures.
Our annual evaluation report tracks multiple indicators and demonstrates that our approach works for many youth and families who have turned to us.
But this success has also translated into a very long waitlist for admission. For the past few years, our number one priority has been to increase our capacity to serve more youth and their families.
In March, we opened an additional dormitory, Moffat House. Moffat House was created out of the generosity and vision of donors to Pine River Foundation, who want to help us serve more youth and their families.
“I am very pleased to see Pine River Institute expand its services for residential addictions treatment for youth,” said Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones. “This new dormitory was a project of the Pine River Foundation with generous donations, and because of the operational funding from the province, we have new beds to help youth with their recovery from addiction. It’s a great example of a partnership between private donations and government investment.”
We are proud of our program, grateful to the Government of Ontario and our philanthropic funding partners, and recognize our uniquely talented and dedicated staff who really make the difference in the lives of our students and their families.
Our slogan at Pine River is Hope is a Place. Today, we celebrate this significant next step and appreciate the fantastic support of the Government of Ontario to make hope a place for many more with this wonderful investment.