Members of the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB) feel that the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) meetings in Ottawa will prove to be helpful in the long run.

“It was a great opportunity to meet face to face with various ministers and express our concerns,” said Mark King, who is chair of the board. “We were heard, and we are optimistic some positive change comes about as a result of these meetings.”

The message delivered to AMO from the DNSSAB and some of the municipalities was consistent in that they were all looking for solutions to the issues involving mental health and addictions and the housing crisis in the district.

Something that is sure to help in that regard is Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo will be in the area for the International Plowing Match that is taking place in Verner in September, and plans to sit in on a meeting with local stakeholders to try and help manage the issue of mental health and addictions.

Another meeting topic with various Ministry members advocated for community supports for social housing and the increased need for emergency shelter spaces.

The DNSSAB also pushed for the continuation of programs that have proven to be successful thus far, such as the Gateway Hub; N-Prep, which helps social assistance recipients leave Ontario Works and move on to post-secondary education; and, the GetTrainedWorkers website which matches people looking for work with employers looking for skilled labour.

“Often issues are more complex and fall under the purview of several ministries and program areas of the DNSSAB,” added King. “In some cases, we’re already doing what the province is pushing for so it’s a good opportunity to let the government know what is working, and why.”