Opioid Response Team

The mandate of the Opioid Response Team (ORT) is to help protect the health of Canadians and promote healthy choices by:

  • coordinating the federal response to the opioid crisis
  • providing leadership for Canada’s drug policy
  • regulating drugs and substances

About the ORT

Problematic substance use and illegal drugs have long presented health and safety challenges in Canada. Recently, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of overdoses and deaths as a result of problematic opioid use.

The ORT responds to the opioid crisis and to problematic substance use by setting and implementing federal drug policy in collaboration with federal partners. They do this in part through the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, Canada’s public health approach to drug policy.

The ORT also regulates drugs and substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to help protect the health of Canadians against potentially harmful substances. This includes reviewing applications and issuing exemptions for supervised consumption sites.

One of the ORT’s key responsibilities is to provide a focal point for engagement with partners and stakeholders on issues related to problematic substance use. These stakeholders include provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, health organizations, substance use experts, people who have been personally affected by problematic substance use, and people who use drugs.

Branch directorates and their roles

We are under the leadership of the Assistant Deputy Minister and have over 200 employees. The branch consists of two directorates:

  • the Controlled Substances Directorate, which provides leadership for the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy and advances regulatory actions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  • the Opioid Response Team Directorate, which coordinates the federal response to the opioid crisis
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