Alberta’s government has taken significant steps to improve mental health and addiction care by increasing access to treatment and recovery supports. As the largest provider of mental health and addiction services in Alberta, AHS plays a key role in ensuring every Albertan has the opportunity to access treatment and pursue recovery, wherever they are. Alberta’s government is ensuring AHS programs and services benefit from stronger coordination, oversight, and alignment with the government’s recovery-oriented approach.

To ensure the effective delivery of services across the province, the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction has issued a directive to AHS to consolidate its mental health and addiction programs, services and operations under the existing AHS Provincial Addiction and Mental Health program. AHS will also align these services with the government’s recovery-oriented approach to ensure high-quality services remain available to Albertans across the province.

“We have an important responsibility to ensure that no matter what part of the province is called home, individuals can access the best mental health care and addiction treatment we have to offer. I am proud to be working closely with AHS to deliver these services for Albertans young and old.”

Dan Williams, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

This directive will not impact funding for programs or service delivery. Albertans will be able to rely on having consistent access to the programs and services they need to address their mental health and addiction concerns. The directive is an administrative process to improve provincial alignment of services and achieve better outcomes for Albertans.

“This is a positive step that will help ensure a consistent and effective approach to mental health and addiction services across Alberta. It will greatly enhance our ability to provide these necessary and important services to Albertans, wherever they live.”

Dr. John Cowell, official administrator, Alberta Health Services

Historically, there has been no over-arching coordination and ministry oversight of mental health and addiction services within AHS. This lack of coordination and oversight have resulted in an inability to build a consistent and effective system of care for Albertans. Varying funding structures for services and a lack of policy coordination have created a system without the outcomes measurements, consistency, and predictability expected by those accessing care – and the taxpayers who fund these services.

“We have excellent, life-saving programs and services that are available to Albertans when and where they need it, and that will not change. This step will improve coordination and oversight of those services, resulting in a more consistent, effective system of care.”

Mauro Chies, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

“We are very proud of the programs we provide to Albertans in need of mental health and addiction support, and we are extremely grateful to our frontline teams who help deliver this care every single day.”

Kerry Bales, chief program officer, Provincial Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services

Since the creation of the stand-alone ministry of Mental Health and Addiction in October 2022, the ministry has been working closely with AHS to bring consistent oversight of mental health and addiction services within the provincial health authority. The directive issued is a step further in supporting this.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2019, the ministry-specific budget for mental health and addiction has grown from just $87 million annually to $275 million in 2023/24.
  • Alberta Health Services receives nearly $1 billion provincial funding every year to deliver mental health and addiction services.