Public consultation on a proposed mental health commission and federal priorities on mental health and mental illness

Mental illness is a significant public health challenge affecting the lives of many Canadians, and impacting both the economic and social development of the country and the population. Mental health and mental illness have also been characterized as long-neglected areas of health and social policy.

On May 9, 2006, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released the final report of its two year study of mental health and mental illness in Canada. One of its main recommendations was the creation of a Canadian Mental Health Commission with a mandate to address mental health and mental illness. Although a mental health commission may be mandated to conduct a variety of functions and activities, it is important to note that it will not be providing, monitoring, or evaluating any mental health services, and would have an advisory and knowledge development/exchange role.

The purpose of this consultation is to allow you and all Canadians to share your views on mental health and mental illness, particularly federal priorities in this area and the proposed mental health commission. You are invited to provide your perspective on the need for such a commission, in addition to activities that a commission could undertake. In particular, we would like your views on the following:

  • the need (or lack thereof) for a mental health commission;
  • the mandate, functions and activities of such a commission;
  • the structure of such a commission, including possible choices for advisory committees and special areas of focus; and
  • the appropriate federal government priorities in mental health and mental illness.

Your input will be provided to the Minister of Health to better inform and guide the Government of Canada’s efforts to address mental health and mental illness in Canada.

Consultation Questions on the Government of Canada’s Priorities in Mental Health and Mental Illness

1. What should be the Government of Canada’s priorities in addressing mental health and mental illness in Canada (e.g., fostering research and knowledge development, developing an anti-stigma campaign, targeting vulnerable populations, etc.)?

2. In helping to address mental health and mental illness in Canada, how useful would be the establishment of a mental health commission?

3. If you answered, in question 2, that the establishment of a mental health commission would be “useful”, “very useful” or “invaluable”, please answer the following: Which of the following activities should a mental health commission undertake that would bring the most value to Canadians?

  • Leading the development of a national mental health and mental illness strategy for Canada
  • Educating Canadians about mental health and mental illness
  • Coordinating and disseminating existing information on mental health and mental illness in Canada
  • Identifying gaps in research on mental health and mental illness in Canada
  • Uniting all levels of government, stakeholders, and individuals living with or affected by mental illness in order to address mental health issues in Canada
  • Other functions/activities (please specify)

4. Often, advisory committees are established to guide and inform the work of organizations, such as a mental health commission, on issues of special interest. Should a mental health commission establish advisory committees to support its work?

If yes, which groups should be involved? Please check all that apply:

  • Consumers, families & care givers
  • Health care providers/professionals
  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Children and youth
  • Seniors
  • Other (please specify)


5. Are you:

  • Someone who has lived with, or is living with, a mental illness or mental health problem?
  • A family member/friend of someone with a mental illness or a mental health problem?
  • A mental health care service provider?
  • An academic/researcher?
  • A Government representative? (please specify)
  • An Aboriginal representative? (please specify)
  • A mental health organization/stakeholder member?
  • Other

6. Please provide any additional comments with respect to mental health and/or mental illness that you would like to bring to the attention of the Minister of Health.

7. Are you male or female ?

8. What is your age group?

9.What is your province/territory of residence?