Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction Provides Update on the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis

News Release

Commitment to quarterly updates stems from Opioid Summit last fall

May 31, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Government of Canada

The ongoing opioid crisis in Canada continues to affect communities in many parts of the country. Addressing the crisis demands a whole-of-society response, from a variety of sectors, to truly understand the roots of the issue and to respond effectively.

Last November, the Minister of Health co-hosted the Opioid Summit with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for Ontario, which brought together individuals and organizations to take action to combat the opioid crisis. During the Summit, more than 30 organizations and 9 provinces and territories committed to the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) committed to quarterly reporting on the status of commitments made by signatories to the Joint Statement. Today, the CCSA released its first report, which demonstrates key achievements made since the Summit, as well as the continued need to work together to fight the opioid crisis from all sides.

Highlights from the report include:

  • In February 2017, researchers from the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), which is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, released A Guideline for the Clinical Management of Opioid Use Disorder. The guideline is intended for use by the Government of British Columbia, all BC physicians, nursing and allied health professionals, and other care providers involved in the treatment of individuals with opioid use disorder. CRISM researchers are currently working on adapting these guidelines for use at the national level.
  • On March 1, 2017, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) hosted a meeting of provincial and territorial chief coroners and medical examiners to continue its work to establish a national network of coroners’ reports, develop a common definition for opioid-related death, and begin developing a plan to collect consistent data on opioid-related deaths.
  •  The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC formed a Prescription Monitoring Oversight Committee to provide oversight of PharmaNet, their provincial prescription monitoring program, and expand its use across the province.
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador developed and implemented a new education tool, the Safe-Prescribing Program. The Program is mandatory as of March 1, 2017 for all new physicians seeking a license to practice medicine in this province for the first time.

Along with this quarterly report, the Government of Canada is also pleased to announce the addition of nine new organizations to those that made commitments at the Opioid Summit, adding new commitments to the already robust list of action items underway. Signing on to the Joint Statement are:

  • The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists;
  • The Canadian Dental Association;
  • The Canadian Federation of Medical Students;
  • The Canadian Physiotherapy Association;
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health;
  • The Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management;
  • HealthCareCAN;
  • Paramedic Chiefs of Canada; and
  • The Royal College of Dentists of Canada.

To see the details of the commitments made by each of the new organizations, please see the Joint Statement.

For more information on what the Government of Canada is doing to combat the opioid crisis, please visit


“Our government is committed to working with our partners to ensure an ongoing response to the opioid crisis that is comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based. Today, I’m happy to recognize the progress made in the months since the Opioid Summit, and to welcome new partners on board as we continue to fight the opioid crisis together.”

The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health


“Reading this report, you’re struck by the breadth and depth of activity focused on one objective: to safeguard people from the potential harms of opioids while allowing them to enjoy the therapeutic benefits when they are needed. CCSA is pleased to play a key role of monitoring progress, and charting it over time – and I can tell you, with actions like we’ve seen, we as a community are headed in the right direction.”

Rita Notarandrea
CEO, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Associated Links


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations

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