WOWC Supports Permanent Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) Funding

Media Release 


WOWC supports permanent Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) Funding 

Southwestern, OntarioThe Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC) has reiterated its support and request to the provincial government for permanent funding of the Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) program across Ontario. 

This MCRT funding provides critical funding support for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to be paired with experienced mental health professionals in response to the substantial increase in mental health calls. Communities and residents in rural Western Ontario have felt the direct benefits from the pairing of specially trained police officers and mental-health professionals to respond to 911 emergency calls involving mental health or addictions. 

“These impacts were instantly felt by our communities and our local emergency departments. Through immediate on-site clinical assessment of individuals in crisis, these MCRTs were able to de-escalate emergent situations, avoid unnecessary apprehensions and connect individuals in crisis with the appropriate follow-up services,” explained WOWC Chair Glen McNeil. 

This funding had been delivered from the Province of Ontario to various OPP detachments and their partners through case-by-case, application-based grant funding. It was recommended by multiple stakeholders, including the OPP, that these programs should be made permanent – through annualized funding – and expanded to provide more resources, in some cases up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The WOWC initially outlined its request to the Province of Ontario for permanent MCRT program funding at the ROMA 2023 Conference in January, and again through a letter submitted this week to provincial Ministers, including Solicitor General Michael Kerzner and Health Minister Sylvia Jones. 

“The mental health and addictions epidemic is deeply affecting and impacting the communities in small and rural communities, which have even fewer resources to tackle this growing 

problem, given the lack of access to adequate community health services – and integrated mental health and addictions services – which are major barriers to reducing homelessness and poverty,” added Chair McNeil. “The concern expressed by our partners is that the application-based temporary funding for these programs is not sufficient – and ending these programs will counter the excellent work, progress and collaboration achieved over the past few years.” 

As a result of the MCRT funding, the OPP detachments have increased their capacity to respond to mental health and addictions calls, increased diversion from hospitals, decreased apprehensions, and improved response to mental health and addictions crises by connecting individuals with the right care at the right time. For example, prior to the MCRT funding being available, Middlesex County OPP reported a 63% increase in mental health calls between 2016 and 2018, many of which resulted in unnecessary referrals to the emergency department. 

“The loss of this funding – and any further delays in making this funding permanent – will be detrimental to our small and rural communities, our local emergency departments, our health care workers, and the growing number of individuals experiencing mental health and addictions crises in our communities,” concluded Chair McNeil. 

As part of its ongoing advocacy efforts to tackle the growing mental health and addictions crisis in rural Western Ontario, the WOWC has been consulting with regional partners over the past year to understand the funding gaps and requirements to address this issue. These partners include the OPP, United Way, the Canadian Mental Health Association, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, the Community Resilience Coalition (Guelph/Wellington), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Hotel Dieu Grace Health Care, and the 15 WOWC member municipalities. 


The Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus (WOWC) is a not-for-profit organization representing 15 upper and single-tier municipalities in Southwestern Ontario, representing more than 1.5 million residents. The WOWC aims to enhance the prosperity and overall wellbeing of rural and small urban communities across the region. Caucus members work collectively to influence federal and provincial legislation and programs through advocacy, research, analysis, and education. For more information, visit 

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