Neuropsychologist Dr. Sylvan Roy sees how the pandemic has impacted mental health and he wants to do something to ensure those services are available.
Roy vows to drive policy for improved services if he's elected to sit in the legislature at Queen’s Park.
“I am seeing a massive uptick on need, and those services are not always available,” Roy said. “On a mental health front, it is really assessing the workforce and key populations like our children, and deciding on a plan of action to help them cope and recover from this pandemic.”
The Ontario Liberals officially named Roy the candidate for Newmarket-Aurora Feb. 10.
The Toronto-based psychologist is a newcomer to political campaigns. He works with the Inner City Family Health Team, providing primary care to homeless individuals. He said he was spurred to run by the health policies of the current government, questioning the cuts made to the health sector before the pandemic began.
Besides mental health, he said he hopes to address issues such as climate change, business recovery, and long-term care as an MPP.
Autism services are another key issue for him, Roy said. He said he has a child with autism and knows first-hand the impact of the government’s handling and changing services in its first year of office.
“In their last year of power, they’re coming up with a new program. It’s four years that kids have lost,” Roy said. “To me, that’s what is different about our party. We are listening to what Ontarians need. We’re listening to folks in Newmarket-Aurora tell us what are the key priorities.”
Although he does not live in the riding, he has done work here. He was part of a government study for rates of intellectual disabilities at shelters, with Newmarket-Aurora a key centre for the study between 2015 and 2019. He worked in the region at shelters with disability services to help fast-track clients toward needed services. The clinical side ended in 2019, with a pandemic-delayed report still to come.
Roy said he has not ruled it out, but he could not commit to living in the riding yet if elected. He said it would destabilize his children’s care. Regardless, he said he is committed to being present in the riding and spending time listening to locals ahead of the election campaign.
“I’m here for them,” Roy said. “I will be a good advocate for them at Queens Park.”
Provincial Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said Roy, a former head of the Ontario Psychological Association, has worked toward a “fairer and more inclusive Ontario."
“Sylvain truly understands what it takes to be a fantastic representative for his community, and with him as their MPP, the people of Newmarket-Aurora will have a strong fighter on their side at Queen’s Park,” Del Duca said.
Roy is emerging as a candidate after the Liberal party disqualified a possible nomination opponent, Shameela Shakeel, for reasons the party declined to disclose. The disqualification left Roy uncontested for a nomination meeting this month.
Roy said he intended to contribute toward the Liberals policy platform and will consult Newmarket residents every week.
He said he likes his chances of election in the riding.
“There’s a lot of folks in the riding that are really fired up about that election. They’ve been disenfranchised. Their lives have been thrown upside down,” Roy said, adding he believes that locals will appreciate the Liberal policies to come. “I will be able to help the community grow and overcome what we’ve been through as a society.”