The Slaight Family Foundation announced today a $30 million commitment to support 19 Canadian organizations offering mental health services across the country now and in the future.

Among the 19 organizations to receive a donation, Sinai Health Foundation will receive $1 million to establish a comprehensive Substance Use Disorders Program at Sinai Health. The program will help patients with addictions access more collaborative, seamless care, free of stigma.

“Working together to identify addiction issues early and empathetically is a core part of Sinai Health’s care model,” said Louis de Melo, CEO of Sinai Health Foundation. “Thanks to the transformational support of The Slaight Family Foundation, together we can rise to the challenge of addressing Canada’s addictions and mental health crisis by reducing barriers to treatment.”

The program will also include the creation of a barrier-free Rapid Access Addiction Management (RAAM) Clinic and help teach health care providers to manage addiction, making addictions medicine a normal part of care.

Canada is experiencing a mental health crisis. There are an alarming 46 deaths per week from accidental opioid poisoning and overdose is now one of Canada’s leading causes of preventable deaths. Seniors too are facing higher risks of developing mental health issues due to the social isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know COVID-19 has exacerbated mental health issues across the country putting huge stress on our hospitals and organizations providing services,” said Gary Slaight, President & CEO, The Slaight Family Foundation. “We hope this support will help alleviate some of these stresses, reduce hospital visits, provide additional services for those in need of mental health support and develop new models of care and service for others to emulate.”

Since 2013, The Slaight Family Foundation has funded several strategic initiatives to multiple organizations. These initiatives started with gifts to five Toronto hospitals to support priority healthcare issues, followed by programs to address global humanitarianism, healthy development of children and youth across Canada, support for Indigenous issues, a seniors’ initiative to help keep seniors in their homes and communities, and, last year’s initiative to support more than one million women and girls globally.

The Slaight Family Foundation was established in 2008 by John Allan Slaight. Allan Slaight is known as Canada’s broadcast pioneer, music leader and a prominent Canadian philanthropist. Through his generosity, the Foundation proactively supports charitable initiatives in the areas of healthcare, at-risk youth international development, social services and culture.