The governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador sign a bilateral agreement to fund innovative treatment options for problematic substance use

News release

This bilateral agreement of more than $4 million is the first to be signed under the new Emergency Treatment Fund

June 28, 2018 - Winnipeg, MB - Government of Canada

The opioid crisis is devastating individuals, families and communities across the country. The number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids, including fentanyl, has risen sharply and is getting worse. Tragically, nearly 4,000 Canadians lost their lives in 2017 because of apparent opioid-related overdoses. That is why the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador continue to work in a collaborative and comprehensive manner to increase access to effective, evidence-based treatment options.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and the Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services for Newfoundland and Labrador, announced the signing of a bilateral agreement under the Government of Canada’s new Emergency Treatment Fund.

This agreement will result in an investment of more than $4 million—$1.6 million from the Government of Canada and $2.7 million from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2018-19—to improve access to opioid dependency treatment in the province using multi-disciplinary teams, case managers, primary care providers and telemedicine.

With this investment, the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador hope to help close the significant gap in treatment services for people who are seeking help for substance use disorders.

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada committed $150 million to provide emergency funding to the provinces and territories to improve access to evidence-based treatment services. The Emergency Treatment Fund is cost-shared with the provinces and territories, and the total investment will be close to $300 million once bilateral agreements are signed with each jurisdiction.

The Emergency Treatment Fund supports projects that:

  • build on and enhance existing treatment approaches;
  • encourage further implementation of innovative treatment solutions; and
  • enhance healthcare providers’ knowledge of best practices.

Details specific to each province and territory will be made public as bilateral agreements are signed.


“I am pleased that the agreement we signed today under the Emergency Treatment Fund will help improve access to treatment for Canadians with problematic substance use living in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our government continues to take action to address the opioid crisis through our comprehensive and collaborative strategy. Today’s announcement puts us one step closer to providing treatment options to Canadians who want them.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Today’s agreement builds on the successful partnerships and initiatives we have already undertaken in Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador and the provincial Opioid Action Plan. Funding will be used to develop a multi-disciplinary hub and spoke model for opioid dependence treatment in our province. This means people will have greater access to supports in their own communities and receive the care and treatment needed to start on the road to recovery.”

The Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“In 2017, we saw a 34% increase in the reported number of apparent opioid-related deaths across Canada, compared to 2016. The tragedy is that opioid overdose is now the leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 30 and 39 years. Continued action is needed on a number of fronts to reverse the complex crisis behind this trend. Increasing access to treatment has a positive impact on survival rates and will help save lives.”

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Quick Facts

  • In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada committed more than $230 million over five years to address the opioid crisis. This funding includes $150 million for a cost-shared Emergency Treatment Fund. Related investments made by provinces and territories made since January 2016 can also count towards matching of federal funds.
  • The latest national data show that almost 4,000 Canadians died of apparent opioid-related overdoses in 2017. That is up from a reported 2,978 apparent opioid-related deaths in 2016.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador is the first province to sign a bilateral agreement under this new Fund.
  • Since November 2016, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has taken a number of actions to address the opioid crisis in their province, both through legislation, funding, and in partnership with stakeholders and grassroots community organizations. This includes:
    • Safe prescribing course for health care professionals;
    • Province-wide Naloxone take-home kit program;
    • Naloxone community pop-up tents;
    • Improved access to Suboxone as an alternative drug to methadone;
    • Pharmacy Network; and,
    • Introduction and passage of prescription monitoring program legislation.

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Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada

Emily Timmins
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Department of Health and Community Services

Public Inquiries:
1-866 225-0709 

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