Ontario Honours Achievements of Emerging Mental Health Leaders

September 13, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government is recognizing two graduate students with the Hilary M. Weston Scholarship for their outstanding work and contributions in the field of mental health. The $7,500 scholarship is awarded annually to two graduate students enrolled in full-time social work programs at a publicly funded Ontario university.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, was joined today virtually by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and the Honourable Hilary M. Weston to present the awards to this year’s recipients Calvin Prowse and Tin Vo.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of Ontarians and our government is committed to supporting mental health and addictions services,” said Minister MacLeod. “The Hilary M. Weston Scholarship encourages continued work and contributions in the study of mental health. I want to sincerely congratulate Calvin Prowse and Tin Vo for their outstanding efforts to support those living with mental health challenges.”

Calvin Prowse, a Master of Social Work student at McMaster University, will receive the award for their desire to transform the lives of individuals living with disabilities by understanding the mind and body through their research and ultimately building a more inclusive world for all.

Tin Vo, a PhD student in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, will receive the award for his research on mental health and the social well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people within LGBTQ community centres and other spaces, helping to provide a more fluid, integrated and effective services network for everyone.

“The new and more complex challenges we are facing due to the impacts of COVID-19 have created a surge in demand for mental health supports across Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The Hilary M. Weston Scholarship is an incredible partner in helping to ensure we can deliver higher-quality mental health care for Ontarians of all ages. I extend a heartfelt congratulations to Calvin Prowse and Tin Vo for their recent recognition, and I wish them the very best of success in their efforts to provide patient-centered mental health care.”

“With the mental health field constantly evolving, we must look to passionate and creative scholars like Tin and Calvin to not only serve their communities, but also to seize the opportunity to fill the painful gaps that occurred throughout the pandemic, in learning and education” said the Honourable Hilary M. Weston.

The Government of Ontario established the scholarships in honour of Hilary M. Weston, the province’s 26th Lieutenant Governor. It recognizes her legacy and contributions in the area of mental health.

Quick Facts

  • The recipients were chosen by an independent selection committee in recognition of their academic excellence and commitment to advancing mental health research. Each recipient receives $7,500. The annual application period closes on December 15.
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem.
  • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in 2020-21 the province invested up to $194 million in one-time emergency funding for mental health and addictions services, including virtual supports which have been accessed by more than 101,000 Ontarians.
  • Under the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario has announced an increase of $525 million in annualized funding for mental health and addictions support since 2019-20. This includes $175 million for more mental health and addictions services and supports in 2021-2022 committed through the 2021 Budget, $176 million invested in October 2020 and new funding of $174 million invested in 2019-20.