Government of Canada funds innovative cannabis public education projects targeting young Canadians

News release

Three Toronto-based organizations will receive $4.1 million in funding

October 10, 2018 - Toronto, Ontario - Health Canada

On October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act will come into force, marking a significant milestone in the Government of Canada’s commitment to legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis to keep it out of the hands of children and to keep profits away from criminals and organized crime. Public education is an important element of the Government’s public health approach to legalizing and regulating cannabis. In collaboration with provinces and territories, the Government is continuing its work to help ensure that Canadians have access to the facts and information they need to make informed decisions about cannabis.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health John Oliver announced more than $4.1 million in funding under Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program. These investments will support three Toronto-based organizations in raising awareness of the health effects of cannabis and the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

  • Operation Springboard will receive $3 million over four years to scale up its current cannabis public education program Weed Out the Risk – A National Youth Public Education Program across Canada. The program focuses on the health and safety risks of driving while under the influence of cannabis.
  • The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association will receive $653,000 over three years for its program titled Filling the Toolbox: Equipping Educators to Address Cannabis Use in a School Setting. The program will provide educators with the tools they need to address cannabis use in schools.
  • St. Stephen’s Community House will receive $480,000 over three years for its program SOAR: The Culture Shift Project, which uses a peer leader model to educate youth from various cultural backgrounds about problematic cannabis use.

Partnerships like these with community-based organizations and educators allow the Government of Canada to reach specific audiences with information on the health and safety risks of cannabis use. This collaborative approach helps build common knowledge about cannabis and its effects on health and safety.


“By working together, we can maximize the reach of our cannabis public education initiatives to raise awareness and educate Canadians—particularly youth and young adults—about the health and safety risks of cannabis use, including drug-impaired driving. Partnerships like the ones announced in Toronto today are integral to our public education efforts to give Canadians the information they need to make informed decisions about cannabis.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Our Government is excited to partner with these three Toronto-based organizations to help provide youth with the information they need to remain healthy and safe once cannabis is legalized and regulated in Canada.”
John Oliver
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

“As we move closer to recreational cannabis legalization in Canada, it is vital that more public education and awareness happen. Springboard looks forward to providing evidence informed, youth approved programming on the issue.”
Marg Stanowski
Executive Director, Operation Springboard

“Ophea is pleased to be able to support Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), by ensuring educators and intermediaries in Ontario, and across Canada, have access to the classroom tools, knowledge and training they need, to support children and youth in making healthy decisions related to cannabis, both pre, and post legalization.”
Chris Markham
Ophea Executive Director and CEO

“St. Stephen’s Community House’s SOAR: The Culture Shift Project is responding to the identified need for culturally specific peer led interventions that address the harms associated with early and regular cannabis, and prescription drug use as coping mechanisms among youth. Led by a team of trained and supported Peer leaders with lived experience, this initiative will engage youth to creatively explore their own risk factors and co-create alternative coping strategies. This initiative will result in youth being better equipped with the knowledge and skills to make the best informed choices for themselves and their health, and will result in a community of health for youth to seek support.”
Bridget Sinclair
Director of Community Services, St. Stephen's Community House

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has announced an overall investment of $62.5 million over five years to support the involvement of community-based organizations, and Indigenous organizations that are educating their communities on the risks associated with cannabis use.

  • This funding builds on the $46 million over five years previously announced by the Government to support federal public education, awareness and surveillance activities.

  • Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program provides funding for evidence-informed and innovative awareness, prevention, harm reduction and treatment initiatives addressing a range of substances including cannabis. Project proposals are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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