Terence Kernaghan MPP, London North Centre

Government of Ontario

London MPP introduces bill to cover devices that help with mental health

Published on May 12, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre) held a virtual press conference Wednesday announcing his new bill to extend Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP) to include coverage of technological devices used to support mental health care treatments, and any associated data costs. 

Kernaghan was joined by health researchers Cheryl Forchuk of Lawson Health Research Institute and Laura Pearson, executive director of Ontario Peer Development Initiative, who stressed the benefits of certain devices to people living with mental illness. 

“For thousands of Ontarians living with mental health challenges, technological devices that help people virtually access medical and counselling appointments, monitor physical activity, social contact and sleep data, or automatically dispense medication, can support mental health care and treatment, helping to give people with mental illness a better chance at a full, independent and healthy life,” said Kernaghan. 

“Covering mental health devices through the ADP will remove barriers to access, and empower Ontarians with mental health needs, helping many to end the cycle of crisis and hospitalization.” 

Kernaghan’s bill was inspired by research conducted by London health researchers that showed Ontarians with mental health needs demonstrated positive health outcomes once they had access to devices that support their treatment plan.

Research shows that Ontarians who use assistive devices for their mental health felt more empowered, less isolated, and more integrated in their communities – nearly 80 per cent of participants in a study by Forchuk found assistive devices for mental health improved their overall health and resulted in fewer visits to a social service provider or a hospital emergency department.  

Kernaghan’s Bill 277 will be debated in the legislature and put to a vote on Thursday. 


Laura Pearson, executive director of Ontario Peer Development Initiative:

“Arming individuals with technological devices to support their mental health needs will significantly increase access to much-needed treatments and supports. Through the use of technology, individuals can better manage their own mental health – giving them greater independence and higher levels of community integration. The Ontario Peer Development Initiative applauds MPP Kernaghan for introducing this private member’s bill that would allow for greater engagement in mental health services."  

Cheryl Forchuk, Lawson Health Research Institute

“The pandemic has reaffirmed that there can be no health without mental health. In the 21st century we know new technologies are available to support mental as well as physical health. We need legislation that does not discriminate based on type of disability.”