Minister of Health announces new projects to address the opioid crisis

News Release

New changes and projects to support the Government of Canada commitment to lower the number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths in Canada

November 15, 2017 - Calgary, AB - Health Canada

There were more than 2,800 apparent opioid-related deaths in Canada in 2016. The available preliminary data for 2017 also suggest that the number of opioid-related deaths will almost certainly exceed 3,000 lives lost this year. This is nothing short of tragic.

To address this national public health crisis, the Government of Canada is committed to taking comprehensive and evidence-based approach to save lives and protect the well-being of all Canadians.

Today in Calgary at the Issues of Substance Conference, hosted by the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced new federal activities as part of the federal government’s strategy to address the opioid crisis. These new activities include:

  • supporting a pilot project that would provide a safer pharmaceutical alternative (such as hydromorphone) to illegal drugs,
  • authorizing supervised consumption sites to offer drug checking services,
  • supporting  innovative harm reduction pilot projects to provide drug checking services, and
  • working with provinces and territories to establish a streamlined protocol for temporary overdose prevention sites should the province or territory indicate urgent public health need.

While in Calgary, the Minister also announced the release of the Government of Canada Actions on Opioids: 2016 and 2017 report. This report, along with the CCSA’s report on the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis, provides additional details about the actions taken to address the opioid crisis across Canada.

While the Government of Canada continues to take action on this ongoing crisis, the roots of this crisis are complex and no one actor has the power to change the current course of events. Many crucial actions are already being taken by municipalities, provinces and territories, key stakeholders and other organizations, which, together, will help reduce the number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths in Canada. The federal government will continue to seek opportunities to enable and support the actions of our partners – we must all work together to do better for Canadians.


“Our government is committed to addressing the opioid crisis and working with our partners to find innovative solutions to lower the epidemic of opioid-related overdoses in Canada. The projects announced today are just a part of our collaborative and comprehensive approach. We must all continue to work together to turn the tide on this crisis.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada is focusing on three key areas as part of its comprehensive and evidence-based approach to save lives and protect the well-being of all Canadians:

    • Working with provinces and territories to identify and reduce federal regulatory barriers to treatment;
    • Supporting innovative approaches to address the opioid crisis, and
    • Addressing the stigma related to opioid use.

Associated Links


Yves Comeau
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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