Province invests $2.9 million to reduce risk of homelessness, ease heath care pressures within Hastings and Prince Edward counties

SUNDAY, APRIL 25, 2021


BAY OF QUINTE - Ontario is providing $2.9 million to Addictions and Mental Health Services Hastings Prince Edward (AMHS - HPE) to rehome people with a history of addictions, mental health and other co-morbidities residing in hospitals or long-term care homes, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte announced today.

Through the AMHS-HPE Back to Home Program, people filling Alternate Level of Care beds in Quinte Health Care (QHC) hospitals could benefit from approximately 30 new-build or retrofit housing units in Belleville that would be served 24/7 by staff providing wrap-around services such as case management, mental health and addictions counselling, nursing, and personal supports. Community participation and networking would also be encouraged, with a conscious effort made to reduce stigma for residents.

“This project will provide safe housing and life-changing support for some of the Quinte region’s most vulnerable residents,” said Smith. “At the same time, this housing will ease some of the pressure on QHC and improve access to health-care services in this region. The benefit will be wide-reaching.”

Smith noted that as part of its application, AMHS-HPE presented empirical data to quantify the value of its project.  Over the past five years, QHC has had an average of 24 ALC patients with mental health or addictions per year. Those patients many with complex health needs and multiple diagnoses — represent more than 3,500 patient days over that time span. Several patients have been in institutionalized settings for two-to-three years and have had limited access to health services, like primary care, or affordable housing. Some have transitioned out of hospital to long-term care, only to return to a hospital setting.

AMHS-HPE Chief Executive Officer Garry Laws was pleased to learn the project will move forward.

“The announcement of this Back to Home funding is extremely critical for Hastings-Prince Edward and all of the patients who are inappropriately housed in hospitals or long-term care beds,” Laws said. “This funding will provide patients in Alternate Level of Care beds with an affordable housing option while they receive quality health care. On behalf of the board of directors, thank you to the Ministry of Health for recognizing AMHS-HPE’s proposal.”

Laws indicated AMHS-HPE intends to partner with QHC, Ontario Health Teams, community service providers, and cultural leaders to successfully implement the Back To Home program.

The funding, which includes rent supplements,  is related to a $13.7-million commitment to Back to Home programs across Ontario, announced by Michael Tibollo, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Steve Clark, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in December as part of $176 million in new investments as part of the Province’s 10-year Roadmap to Wellness strategy. 

“Every person in Ontario deserves access to the most appropriate supports as they move forward in their journey to mental wellness,” said Tibollo. “By investing in supportive housing for Ontario’s challenged by mental health and addictions issues, we are providing some of our most vulnerable populations with access to safe and secure housing, as well as access to the services they need, when and where they need them.”

Added Clark: “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Ontarians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and our government is committed to getting them the mental health and addictions support they need. This is a crucial first step down the road to recovery for those who are suffering from these issues.”


  • Read Roadmap to Wellness at
  • Learn more about this year’s $176-million investment, which brings base investments in addictions and mental health across Ontario to $350 million since 2019-2020, at
  • Find out more about addictions and mental health supports available in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties by visiting or

Ontario supports improvements at Picton's town hill through Connecting Links Program



PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY – Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced today that the Province is providing Prince Edward County $266,848 through the Connecting Links Program for improvements to the intersection of Picton’s Main and Bridge streets, commonly referred to locally as the town hill.

Running through Prince Edward County’s largest urban area, the municipal route connects two portions of the provincial Hwy 33, making it eligible to receive up to 90 per cent of design and construction costs to renew and replace road and bridge infrastructure.  The municipality’s submission was approved following a review of technical need, safety considerations, and cost effectiveness.

“Picton’s town hill has become a very busy place and you often hear stories about drivers who are uncertain about the traffic rules when approaching it,” said Smith. “Our government listened to the County’s concerns about safety and I’m pleased to see them addressed through Connecting Links.”

The improvements will include updated signage, traffic control infrastructure, pedestrian crossings and line painting.  Two retaining walls, one on Bridge and one on Main, currently obstruct proper lines of sight for vehicles and pedestrians. They will be replaced as part of this project.

Steve Ferguson, the Mayor of Prince Edward County, was pleased to receive the provincial funding.

“Our County delegation met with Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, and her staff at the AMO conference in 2020 to explain our concerns with the intersection,” said Ferguson. “Since that meeting, County staff have sought the advice of the local OPP and worked closely with the Ministry of Transportation to identify issues and possible solutions. With Connecting Links funding secured, we look forward to moving ahead with the improvements at the intersection and addressing the longstanding safety concerns for both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.”

In 2021-2022, the Ontario government is investing $30 million through the Connecting Links Program to support projects in 14 municipalities. The maximum funding amount for road projects is $3 million, while the Province has increased maximum funding for bridge projects to $5 million to reflect the higher costs of maintaining and repairing bridges in comparison to roads. 

“By investing in our roads and bridges, we’re connecting people to jobs, supporting the movement of goods and creating economic growth in local communities” said Mulroney. “This funding not only helps municipalities maintain local infrastructure, but also supports projects that make roads safer, such as improvements to pedestrian crossings.”


  • The town hill project is the second Connecting Links project in Bay of Quinte in the past three years as the City of Belleville’s Sagonaska Bridge replacement project was approved for up to $3 million in 2019-2020.
  • Eligible municipalities with road or bridge infrastructure connecting two ends of a provincial highway are encouraged to apply for 2022-2023 Connecting Links funding later this year. To learn more about the program, visit
  • In Ontario, there are a total of 352 kilometres of Connecting Links, with 70 bridges in 77 municipalities.


Ontario invests in workforce development initiatives to help Quinte manufacturing sector grow



BAY OF QUINTE – The Ontario government is supporting new research to find out what skills employers need now and in the future to provide good local jobs in the Quinte region.  This investment will position the local economy for long-term success, while aiding recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, announced that the Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) will receive $577,500 to assist local manufacturers in identifying specific needs and creating sector-specific awareness to fill an anticipated 2,100 job openings this year. They will also create a human resources guide to assist with attraction, ongoing, retention and training in a workplace changed by increasing automation.  The work builds on previous QEDC efforts to survey employers about labour force challenges in the region.

“We know manufacturers are a driving economic force in the Quinte region and across Ontario. They create stable, well-paying jobs that support other businesses,” said Smith. “This announcement is good news for people and businesses right here. Investing in this research will help us to monitor employment trends to ensure we have the right mix of skilled workers to meet our needs for years to come.”

The project is part of Ontario’s Labour Market Partnerships program, which funds ongoing research into regional economic needs and employment pressures, so that municipalities, employment services and training partners have more information to conduct long-term planning.

“Hope is on the horizon and it’s essential we start thinking about the next stage of the economic recovery”, said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government continues to invest in research to help employers find workers with the training and skills needed for well-paying manufacturing jobs available today, and in the future.”

Chris King, the Chief Executive Officer of the QEDC, was pleased to receive the support.

“The manufacturing sector is a dominant economic driver in the Bay of Quinte region, providing over $500 million in annual payroll, as well as economic spin-off across the economy,” said King. “This funding will help address workforce needs in the sector, allowing companies to continue to grow, invest, and provide good-paying jobs in our community.”

Chandy Davis, the Chair of the Quinte Manufacturers Association also applauded the funding, noting it aligns well with the sector’s own planning.

“Manufacturers in the Bay of Quinte are proud of the products we produce and the jobs we create for the region. This funding is in direct response to the needs we identified and is a plan for continued growth and expansion in the manufacturing sector here in the Bay of Quinte Region.  The Quinte Manufacturers Association greatly appreciates this support from the Ontario government.”

Ontario’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, includes measures to help workers and families recover from COVID-19 by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 for employment and training supports, and proposing the new Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit, a one-time credit that would provide up to $2,000 for workers who enroll in an eligible course or training program in 2021.


  • In 2020-21, Ontario is investing $25.9 million into Labour Market Partnerships. There are currently 69 projects active across the province
  • The Employment Ontario network includes more than 300 partner organizations across Ontario that offer a range of free services and supports that help businesses find workers and connect jobseekers to training and job opportunities.


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