Supporting projects to address and prevent substance use-related harms through peer support and capacity building


July 2021

The Government of Canada continues to support communities across Canada as they work to respond to the overdose crisis and substance use-related harms. This includes $7,401,247 in funding for 13 projects across the country.

Funding is provided through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program.

  • The Native Council of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
    Mobile Harm Reduction Team

    The organization is receiving $387,658 over 24 months to implement a team of harm reduction outreach workers within the off-reserve Indigenous community on PEI. The team will: increase the availability of culturally sensitive and trauma-informed harm reduction; offer Naloxone training; address the immediate needs of people who use substances (e.g. provide sterile needles, blankets, tents, snacks, and first-aid supplies); and, connect people who use substances to services and supports in the community, including Elders.

  • Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs (CAPUD) (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
    We Save Lives: Engaging and Empowering People who Use Drugs in Policymaking 2.0

    The organization is receiving $1,665,761 over 36 months. This project will respond to the increased demand for people who use substances to engage with policy makers on policies, programs, research and practices. It will also respond to an increased willingness of service providers, clinicians, and other healthcare workers to engage with people who use substances in their work. This project seeks to build skills of CAPUD members, the broader community of people who use substances, decision makers and health care providers to better engage with one another. This would ensure that the voice of people who use substances is reflected in harm reduction and treatment services and strategies.

  • M'Chigeeng First Nation (M'Chigeeng, Ontario)
    E-wiijkiwe'endijig Naadmaadwaad (Friends Helping Each Other)

    The organization is receiving $801,751 over 24 months to train local people with lived and living experience to become peer support advocates. Training will include a mix of Indigenous and Western concepts including trauma-informed care practices; motivational interviewing; the stages of change model; harm reduction practices; and evidenced-based peer support practices that are rooted in the foundations of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa, Odawa, Potawatomi) teachings and customs.

  • Canadian Mental Health Association - Hamilton Branch (Hamilton, Ontario)
    Reducing Harms of Substance Use and Advancing Recovery through Peer Support

    The organization is receiving $397,000 over 24 months to expand a peer outreach pilot project. This project includes peer support workers who identify as having lived or living experience and who will work to connect individuals in the community with available health, addictions and housing services.

  • John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton (Lindsay, Ontario)
    Mapping a Plan (M.A.P.)

    The organization is receiving $425,600 over 24 months to pilot a harm reduction focused, peer and addictions counsellor-led support group and drop-in program for individuals who use substances. This project will provide a safe space for people who use substances to receive evidence-based and person centered programming focused on harm reduction and safe usage. It will also promote connection with other community services and supports.

  • St. Leonard's Community Services Inc. (Brantford, Ontario)
    Brantford Downtown Outreach Team

    The organization is receiving $790,995 over 24 months to provide mobile on-the-spot peer support, harm reduction supply distribution, primary care services, and substance use and mental health counselling. The outreach team will target 200 to 300 people experiencing homelessness, who are precariously housed and/or street involved, and those using substances alone or who are disconnected from services in downtown Brantford.

  • Street Health Community Nursing Foundation (Toronto, Ontario)
    The Doorway

    The foundation is receiving $526,430 over 24 months to recruit, train, and provide job placements for people with lived or living experience (PWLLE) of substance use to be gainfully employed as harm reduction workers. The trainees will participate in a two-year harm reduction professional development-training program to become harm reduction educators. They will also participate in the development and the leading of a short-term training and mentoring program for PWLLE. Graduates of this program will be supported in finding further training and job placements or job shadowing with local partner agencies.

  • Breakaway Community Services (Toronto, Ontario)
    Wellness Initiative for Consumption Treatment Service Workers

    The organization is receiving $376,612 over 24 months to pilot an initiative aimed at building and sustaining the capacity of overdose response workers in Consumption Treatment Service (CTS) sites in Toronto, Ontario. This project will support service providers who are facing unique challenges related to their own substance use, mental health and the trauma associated with working and living as a person who uses drugs, within the context of the overdose crisis. The project will help increase CTS workers' capacity to cope with the impact of responding to traumatic events such as overdoses at work, will promote health and wellness as a priority, and will support the development of strategies and resources to address the challenges inherent in this work.

  • AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan (Regina, Saskatchewan)
    APSS Opioid Overdose Prevention Program

    The organization is receiving $384,847 over 24 months to work with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to reduce the opioid overdose risks and prevent opioid overdoses among Indigenous people who inject substances and those at increased risks in the North Central core area of Regina, Saskatchewan. This will include one-on-one, small group and drop-in overdose prevention education sessions, as well as Naloxone training and kit distribution. It will be targeted to Indigenous people who currently access harm reduction services, adults in the correctional system, middle aged working men, at-risk youth and health and other professionals in the community.

  • HIV Community Link Society HIVCL (Calgary, Alberta)
    Substance Use Capacity Building Project

    The organization is receiving $290,486 over 24 months to mobilize long-term, system-level change to reduce barriers to critical supports for people who use substances in Calgary and Southern Alberta. This project will identify and implement best-practices and evidence-based strategies to build foundational policy and practice guidelines. It will also develop the capacity, skills and knowledge of staff, peer workers and leadership professionals to implement policy and practice guidelines. Finally, the project aim to develop practical tools and resources to support sustainability and ongoing implementation to address barriers to critical services and supports among vulnerable and under-served populations.

  • Houston Link to Learning Society (Houston, British Columbia)
    Food for Thought

    This organization is receiving $423,003 over 24 months to explore the role food plays in reducing harm and connecting people who use substances to supports by running a twice-weekly soup kitchen. This soup kitchen will serve meals and provide a means to connect with people who use substances that are underserved, who are at increased risk and who are harder to reach. This project will also offer harm reduction education and will direct people who use substances to health and social services. The kitchen staff will include people with lived and living experience of substance use who will be equipped with life skills training and gain meaningful work experience in the process.

  • Peers Victoria Resources Society (Victoria, British Columbia)
    Peers at Peers: Sex, Gender and Trauma Informed Harm Reduction for People in the Sex Work or Trade

    The organization is receiving $265,476 over 24 months to offer harm reduction and therapeutic communication training to individuals with lived or living experience of substance and that have experience in sex work in Victoria, British Columbia. They will be offered a supported work experience through which they will facilitate harm reduction workshops aimed at people who use substances. With this gained experience, the project would further support the trainees in finding paid or volunteer work in the field of harm reduction.

  • City of Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia)
    Peer Overdose Prevention Project

    The organization is receiving $665,628 over 20 months to provide peer-led, including Indigenous peers, in-reach and outreach overdose prevention and harm reduction services in and around three City-owned downtown community centres (Carnegie Community Centre, Evelyne Saller Centre, and the Gathering Place) and a Downtown Eastside Park (Oppenheimer Park) to people who use drugs and are at risk of overdose and overdose-related death. The focus will be on reaching out to people who tend to use alone in washrooms, corners, alleys or other outdoor areas, as well as people who do not regularly access services.

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