The Walmart Foundation commits to advancing equity for Black and Indigenous Canadians

Gift part of $30M from Slaight Family Foundation to mental health initiatives across Canada

TORONTO (MARCH 10, 2021) – The Slaight Family Foundation announced today a $30 million commitment to support 19 Canadian organizations offering mental health services across the country now and in the future, as mental health challenges continue to raise amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Women’s College Hospital Foundation will receive $1 million for the hospital’s Trauma Therapy Program and for the Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health to expand its trauma-informed, collaborative care program.

Canada is experiencing a mental health crisis. Suicide is the leading health related cause of death among young people accounting for 25% of deaths. Children and youth in care are almost four times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder and 17 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to children in the general population. There are an alarming 46 deaths per week from accidental opioid poisoning and overdose is now one of Canada’s leading causes of preventable deaths. Seniors too are facing higher risks of developing mental health issues due to the social isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know COVID-19 has exacerbated mental health issues across the country putting huge stress on our hospitals and organizations providing services,” said Gary Slaight, President & CEO, The Slaight Family Foundation. “We hope this support will help alleviate some of these stresses, reduce hospital visits, provide additional services for those in need of mental health support and develop new models of care and service for others to emulate.”

Says Jennifer Bernard, president and CEO of Women’s College Hospital Foundation, “We are extremely grateful to The Slaight Family Foundation for their donation which will have a profound and invaluable benefit for our patients and hospital. With this gift, Women’s will accelerate and grow its Trauma Therapy Program to deliver more timely, accessible & quality care by training health practitioners to deliver evidence-based, trauma-focused care, particularly to underserved communities. We will implement and evaluate trauma therapy groups starting at six Ontario sites, reaching approximately 13,000 individuals. Funds will also be directed to The Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health at Women’s to expand trauma-informed, collaborative, community-led initiatives that support minds, bodies, spirits and hearts of Indigenous patients, learners, practitioners and communities,” she says.

With increased mental health support for our most vulnerable, we can reduce demands on our healthcare system and build stronger community supports in mental health.

Since 2013, The Slaight Family Foundation has funded several strategic initiatives to multiple organizations. These initiatives started with gifts to five Toronto hospitals to support priority healthcare issues, followed by programs to address global humanitarianism, healthy development of children and youth across Canada, support for Indigenous issues, a seniors’ initiative to help keep seniors in their homes and communities, and, last year’s initiative to support more than one million women and girls globally. 

The Slaight Family Foundation was established in 2008 by John Allan Slaight. Allan Slaight is known as Canada’s broadcast pioneer, music leader and a prominent Canadian philanthropist. Through his generosity, the Foundation proactively supports charitable initiatives in the areas of healthcare, at-risk youth international development, social services and culture.


Contact: Cathy Carter

Women’s College Hospital Foundation


Alison King

Media Profile

(416) 315-3715