Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada

October 30, 2009 18:30 ET

Public Safety Minister Van Loan Leads Intergovernmental Consensus to Take Action on Mental Health

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2009) - The Minister of Public Safety, Peter Van Loan, today issued the following statement at the conclusion of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Justice meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick:

"My provincial and territorial partners and I marked a significant step forward at this meeting when we all agreed on the importance of focussing our attention on the issue of mental health. Too often, people with mental illness end up in prisons, which are not the appropriate places to house or care for the mentally ill. This is a result of a societal failure to provide adequate care and support.

This situation is simply not acceptable, and I was pleased that provincial and territorial ministers recognized that we in the justice system need to work closely with colleagues in the health and social services sectors to address these issues and ensure that the mentally ill are treated, rather than incarcerated.

Federal-provincial ministers called on officials to begin discussions when they next meet in January 2010.

This approach reflects core Canadian values of compassion and caring and I am encouraged that provincial and territorial ministers are committed to making real progress on this concern.

We need to find solutions. And coming out of this meeting, we have now taken a key step in the right direction."

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