City delays releasing information on Mental Health and Addiction for 45 days

One of signs at the AAMHA protest Monday (Dan Gray/

SaultOnline submitted three Freedom of Information Requests (FOI’s) at City Hall on October 27, 2021, for documentation in hopes of learning what advocating has been done by the municipality to date for funding and supports to address the ongoing addictions and mental health crisis in our community.

During a recent protest at City Hall, numerous parties were witnessed making claims and hurling accusations with regards to advocating for funding and treatment of mental health and addictions in Sault Ste. Marie.

Mayor Christian Provenzano and Council are on the record as stating that it is the number one issue that they hear about in their respective positions. They are also on the record as stating that they have, and continue to, petition the Provincial government frequently for money to help fund the services our community needs to address these issues.

Over the past year, we have also heard the community express their frustrations and anger about crime, homelessness and substance abuse.

The documents that were requested on October 27th will hopefully provide some clarity as to where the City’s priorities lie when it comes to these issues.

Of paramount interest within these documents are details pertaining to a meeting that took place in December of 2019, at which time City officials sat down with Provincial representatives. SaultOnline has requested all documentation from that meeting, including a document which we obtained and published in an earlier story.

In a separate FOI, we requested all documentation and communications between the City and the Province regarding addictions and mental health within our community.

A third asked for all the documentation detailing communications between the City and the Province regarding the Downtown Plaza, for comparison purposes.

Addictions and Mental Health Advocates, along with others in our community, believe that the Plaza has come before the needs of the more vulnerable people in our population. Our series on Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness is attempting to shed some light on whether or not there is any truth to this as well as other claims.

The standard timeline is for the City to provide documents requested under a FOI request is within 30 days, however, this waiting period has now been extended another 45 days pushing any answers to questions sought into the new year.

As per our ongoing commitment to the community, as soon as information becomes available through the appropriate means of sourcing, we will make effort possible to make that information available to viewers.

We appreciate you staying with SaultOnline and ONNTV as we continue to answer the questions citizens have of our government.



  1. If it was up to me , I would first start with checking the Mental Health of Major and Council . I realize there are many pressures coming from the Federal/Provinces and Regional parties as well as those who control the purse strings. It seems like Our City Council is unable to make decisions and when they do , they are the wrong ones for our City. Maybe it is time to just scrape the whole City Council and and spin the roulette wheel every time a decision needs to be made or is that what they are doing now in Private Council.

  2. To those in our community who who suffer from the health condition known as addiction to opiates (and their loved ones),

    Please do not give up hope.

    Like Dan, there are a lot of us in this community who care very deeply about you.

    That’s a fact whether you believe it or not.

    And we are extremely close to getting you to a place of safe haven where you will be given a good chance at recovering from your trauma(s) that led you to addiction to opiates, and your addiction itself in a stigma-free, nurturing environment where you don’t have to worry about paying for food or shelter and getting the focused, daily medical attention that you need so you can slowly work yourself out of this dark period in your life and, begin to live more fully with those people who you love.

    We’re almost there so just hang on… please… and do whatever you have to do to stay alive.

    You matter.

    Mark Brown

  3. The city and those responsible for this silly plaza are going to fall on the wrong side of history. There was no response to the opioid crisis here 4 or 5 years ago when they had the chance to get a handle on things, instead it was ignored and ran rampant, and we are no further ahead in 2021.

    Now the city is delaying freedom of the press, and the right for the public to know, by withholding documentation for another 45 days?

    Mental health and addiction is the NUMBER ONE issue facing this community right now (besides COVID) and instead, all of you involved in our local gov will be remembered for the millions of dollars worth of ‘downtown park plaza outdoor thingy’ wasted, instead of stepping up and putting that toward literally save the many lives of your constituents that got pulled into the wave that our city is still locked into, we are awash in intense addictive drugs widely circulating.

    It’s this kind of constant shenanigans that makes those of us who care about human beings first, well before another downtown revitalization scheme, or trying to delay info to cover asses, that make you feel like dropping out and not participating in our system at all.

    We should mark this article to pop up again in 7 years and see how history is judging this cringe.

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