Today in the legislature, the NDP MPP for St. Catharines, Jennie Stevens, said the Ford government has not done its part to protect St. Catharines residents struggling with mental health challenges, as it has failed to provide mental health and addictions services and failed to fund a suicide prevention barrier on Burgoyne Bridge.
For over a year, the city of St. Catharines and the Niagara region have been advocating for a suicide prevention barrier to be installed on the Burgoyne Bridge. Since October, six people lost their lives to suicide at the bridge. While Stevens has reached out to Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek for help and action on this issue, Yurek has not acknowledged a letter from Stevens.
“While St. Catharines’s Mayor Walter Sendzik and the city council have been doing their part to advocate for funding for the barrier throughout the Niagara region, the Ford government has been conspicuously absent, failing to offer any support,” said Stevens.
“The Conservatives must acknowledge the evidence that shows barriers are necessary to protecting citizens with possible mental health challenges, and must commit to funding this life-saving barrier on the Burgoyne Bridge. The province needs to step up and protect the safety of all citizens, including drivers travelling on Highway 406. Residents in St. Catharines deserve a government that keeps them safe.”
So far, the Ford government has cut $330 million in planned mental health funding, and has defunded some of the province’s existing overdose prevention sites.