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Ontario Connecting Youth in Thunder Bay to Mental Health Services

New Youth Wellness Hub will provide support closer to home

June 18th, 2024

THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government is making it faster and easier for young people to connect to mental health and substance use services by launching a new Youth Wellness Hub to serve Thunder Bay and surrounding areas. This is one of 10 new hubs the government is adding to the network of 22 hubs already opened since 2020, bringing the total to 32 across the province.

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is continuing to take action to improve mental health and addictions services in communities across Ontario, and support people and their families living with mental health and substance use challenges,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “As we expand the number of Youth Wellness Hubs across the province, young people in Thunder Bay can connect to the mental health and addictions care they need, in one convenient location, closer to home.”

Beginning in 2025, the new hub will connect youth aged 12 to 25 and their families in Thunder Bay and surrounding areas to convenient and free mental health, substance use, primary care and Indigenous healing and well-being services in a safe, youth-friendly space.

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay is leading the co-design of the new hub with local youth, community partners and Indigenous service providers, ensuring diverse youth voices and unique needs of Indigenous youth are at the centre of the design and planning for the hub model. The hub will be a culturally appropriate space that offers traditional cultural teachings and supports for Indigenous youth and their families.

“By continuing to expand our network of Youth Wellness Hubs, our government is ensuring youth across the province have convenient access to the highest-quality mental health and addictions supports, when and where they need them,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Thunder Bay’s new Youth Wellness Hub will be a place for young people to feel safe and connected to a community that supports them and helps equip them with the tools they need to face life’s challenges.”

With Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government has significantly expanded the number of Youth Wellness Hubs across the province to make it faster and easier for young people to connect to mental health and substance use support, primary care, social services and more.

Quick Facts

  • The Thunder Bay Youth Wellness Hub will be led by Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and a network of community and Indigenous partners, including Anishnawbe Mushkiki, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre.
  • Between 2020 and 2023, Ontario established a provincial network of 22 Youth Wellness Hubs that have connected 43,000 youth and their families to mental health, substance use, and wellness services, accounting for over 168,000 visits.
  • Reflecting on this success, Ontario is adding 10 more hubs to the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario program: five new hubs will be located in Port Hope, Thunder Bay, Oxford County, Vaughan and Brampton, with another five hubs to be funded through Budget 2024 with an investment of $8.3 million over three years, with locations to be announced.
  • Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to fill gaps in mental health and addictions care, create new services and expand programs through Roadmap to Wellness.
  • As part of Budget 2024, Building a Better Ontario, the government is building on its work through the Roadmap by investing an additional $396 million over three years to improve access and expand existing mental health and addictions services and programs.


“Thunder Bay advocates have been interested in establishing a Youth Wellness Hub in our community since 2017. Although an application submitted at that time did not bring about the desired results, the potential for a Thunder Bay hub re-emerged following the mental health and addictions roundtable with Associate Minister Michael Tibollo in August 2023.

I was pleased to meet with Diane Walker and Rob Dueck in mid-September, and, here we are today. Our sincere appreciation to Minister Jones and Associate Minister Tibollo for their steadfast support in recognizing that we need to adapt the YWHO model to the needs and nuances of our local community.

I am proud to acknowledge the many youth and adult allies who played a vital role in amplifying the youth voice through safe, inclusive, and meaningful engagement. These youth-adult partnerships shall form the very foundation of our local model and empower youth as co-designers of service and program delivery improvements. We stand with you as you navigate this journey together.”

– Kevin Holland
MPP, Thunder Bay–Atikokan

“We are extremely grateful for this vital investment that provides a friendly and welcoming one-stop shop for youth in the City of Thunder Bay and surrounding District. A special thank you to all the youth who worked so hard to make this project possible. Thank you also to MPP Holland, Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and the Steering Committee for bringing home this amazing service delivery model that benefits so many now and in the future.”

– Ken Boshcoff
Mayor of Thunder Bay

“The need for a Youth Wellness Hub is present now more than ever and I am so honored to be a part of the incredible team taking on this opportunity. Youth have been included throughout the entire process and I have never worked with a team that incorporates the youth perspective as well as the Wellness Hub team! This is going to be an amazing space for youth not only to access resources but to build community in Thunder Bay.”

– Gwen Carrasco
Youth, YWH Steering Committee Co Chair

“I am thrilled to welcome the Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and their network partners into the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) network. Thank you to the Government of Ontario and the collaborative community partnerships in Thunder Bay, including youth, Indigenous and First Nations service providers and many additional partners that have made the development of this hub possible.

This critical investment provides young people in the City and District of Thunder Bay with an inclusive and welcoming space where they can access a full range of wholistic and integrated mental health, substance use health, primary care, housing, employment, recreation, and other support services that meet their individual needs. Together, we continue to work towards positive outcomes with and for all youth in Ontario.”

– Dr. Jo Henderson
Executive Director, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO)

“I am thrilled to be a partner and an active champion of the Thunder Bay Youth Wellness Hub. This model of service will address two important strategic priorities we have: first, being able to provide safe, easy to access, more integrated and culturally appropriate health and wellness services for youth; and second, helping to bridge the gap young people and their families experience when moving from the child to the adult systems. A big thank you to all the youth, families and community partners who have leaned in together to bring this dream to reality.”

– Diane Walker
CEO, Children’s Centre Thunder Bay

“In recognition of the Youth Wellness Hub, the Jaida Project recognizes that it is an invaluable resource that will be of great benefit to our district’s youth and community. We are pleased and honoured to be a part of this initiative, and grateful for the engagement of our youth, who stepped up and made their voices heard loud and clear. We are proud of you!”

– Mary Louise and Rob Dueck
The Jaida Project

“Noojmawing Sookatagaing Ontario Health Team (OHT) is excited to share in celebrating the announcement of the Youth Wellness Hub for the District and City of Thunder Bay. The OHT has supported and participated in the development of the business case and proposal and commends the youth-led design process. The Youth Wellness Hub will foster health equity, access to integrated care and services, and a sense of connection and belonging, ultimately improving health outcomes for youth in the District and City of Thunder Bay. We are excited to witness the transformative impact the Youth Wellness Hub will have.”

– Jennifer Lawrance
Implementation Lead, Noojmawing Sookatagaing (Healing Working Together) Ontario Health Team

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