Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) met today with Ontario’s Provincial Party Leaders from the Progressive Conservative Party, New Democratic Party, Liberal Party, and Green Party to discuss priorities for Ontario cities in the lead up to the June 2nd Provincial election.  Topics that were discussed included affordability, housing and mental health and addiction. 

“Affordable housing, housing supply, and housing prices have been top of mind for both residents and all orders of government alike,” said City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “With inflation the highest we have seen in decades, and interest rates on the rise, it is heartening to know that all the leaders recognized the importance of this issue, and have plans to tackle the affordable housing crisis as well as affordability issues related to the rising cost of food and gas.  The City of Kitchener stands ready to continue working with our federal, provincial and regional government partners, as well as the private and not-for-profit sectors, in ending homelessness, increasing housing supply, and making housing more affordable.”

Mental health and addiction issues are complex and will require an all-of-government and cross-sector community collaboration.  Tackling these issues includes continuing to build more affordable and supportive housing, as well as providing greater investment in mental health treatment centres and wrap-around services.  Doing so, will ensure people who are struggling, get the health and rehabilitation services they need, instead of going in and out of the justice system and emergency rooms.  

“Mental health care is health care.  The prevention and treatment of mental health and addiction issues needs to be viewed in the same health-focused approach as people who suffer physical injuries, like getting stitches for deep cuts or treatment and recovery from heart attacks. All the Provincial Leaders recognize mental health and addiction impacts many people, directly and indirectly, and across many sectors of society.  We know from work done by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, that for every $10 invested in supportive housing, we save $21.72 in other costs for the most complex individuals. Strategic and coordinated planning and significant investments in mental health and addiction support will be critical in the years ahead, to result in better outcomes for everyone,” added Mayor Vrbanovic.

In the weeks ahead, leading up to the Ontario provincial election on June 2nd, Mayor Vrbanovic and the Ontario Big City Mayors will continue to bring attention to issues important to both the City of Kitchener and all of Ontario’s cities as we look to ensure that Ontario cities and communities continue to be strong and lead the country in our shared economic recovery efforts after the last 2 years of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM, is comprised of mayors of Ontario cities with populations of 100,000 or more. OBCM provides a voice for big city mayors in policy debates that impact Ontario cities. Through policy development, advocacy, discussion and partnerships, Ontario’s Big City Mayors support strong and effective cities. 

OBCM media release:

City of Kitchener media release:

For more information, please contact: 

Paul Grivicic, Chief of Staff

City of Kitchener


Bethany Rowland, Director of Corporate Communications & Marketing

City of Kitchener