Question Period Note: Federal Approach for Complex Needs


Reference number:
Date received:
Dec 21, 2023
Health Canada
Name of Minister:
Saks, Ya'ara (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions


Municipalities and communities across Canada are struggling to respond to the needs of individuals with complex needs tied to mental health, substance use and precarious housing or homelessness. A lack of appropriate, wrap-around health and social services tied to housing results in increased economic costs for these communities, and poor outcomes for individuals with complex needs. Collaboration between all levels of government and with stakeholders is required for better cross-sectoral integrated services

Suggested Response:

People with complex needs face systemic and structural barriers to accessing the services and supports they require.
Our government is committed to a compassionate and human-centred approach, focused on providing supports across the full continuum of mental health, substance use, housing and social services.
Through Budget 2023, the Government is providing $25B over 10 years to provinces and territories for four shared health priorities, including mental health and substance use.
The federal government also provides significant supports to address needs related to housing and social services.



Additional Information:

Individuals with complex needs are a relatively small but highly vulnerable and high-needs population and are often being frequent users of costly emergency, public safety and hospital services. Individuals with complex needs face many individual, systemic and structural barriers to accessing appropriate housing, mental health and substance use supports.
Evidence points to comprehensive and integrated models that pair stable housing with wrap-around health and social services (e.g., mental health and substance use, dental, primary care; employment, food security, rent supplements) and other supports (e.g., legal services) as having best outcomes for individuals and their families, communities, and as being more cost-effective for health systems.