Government of Canada announces over $2.9 million to support people who use substances across the Guelph region in Ontario

News release

Improving health outcomes for people at risk of substance-related harms and overdose

July 25, 2022 | Guelph, Ontario | Health Canada

Canada’s overdose crisis continues to have a tragic toll on individuals, families and communities across the country. This crisis has only worsened over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a variety of factors including the increasingly toxic drug supply, increased feelings of isolation, stress and anxiety, and changes in the availability of services for people who use substances. The latest data on substance use related harms show that 7,560 people died due to opioid overdose-related deaths across Canada in 2021. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that all Canadians have access to the life-saving substance use services and supports they need.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health along with Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, announced over $2.9 million in funding for five innovative community-led projects across the Guelph region in Ontario. This funding will allow for increased safer supply program capacity, as well as improved outreach services for people who use substances. It will also help to increase access to multiple supports for youth in Guelph region communities, and support training and certification for peer support workers. 

Today’s funding will provide support to those disproportionately affected by substance use issues or who face barriers accessing services, including youth, young and middle-aged men, Indigenous Peoples, people experiencing chronic pain, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and people at increased risk of substance-related overdoses.   

This investment is part of Budget 2021’s commitment of $116 million for the Substance Use and Addictions Program to support a range of innovative approaches to prevention, harm reduction, and treatment. 

The Government of Canada is committed to a comprehensive public health approach to the overdose crisis, which includes understanding that substance use and substance-related harms are often interrelated with other factors, including physical and mental health. We will continue to work with all levels of government, partners, Indigenous communities, stakeholders, people with lived and living experience of addiction, and organizations in communities across the country to put an end to this national public health crisis. 


“Too many lives have been lost to the overdose crisis, leaving innumerable families and friends in Guelph and across Canada to grieve. Today, our government is taking further action to address this national health crisis by investing in community-based projects that will support people in the region at increased risk of overdose and other substance use related harms. I thank all the organizations receiving funding for their dedication in supporting people who use substances, increasing harm reduction initiatives, and reducing the stigma around substance use.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“I am thrilled to see the Federal Government through Health Canada, fund the community based approach being used by our tremendous mental health and addictions support agencies in Guelph and Wellington directly and through our provincial transfer agreements.  The end result is saving lives, and improving the life of people in our region facing challenges and looking for better days ahead.”

Lloyd Longfield
Member of Parliament for Guelph

"Rural and Indigenous community members are equity-deserving populations. With this funding, our healthcare partners can now provide critical health supports that are needed in our community."

Melissa Kwiatkowski
CEO, Guelph Community Health Centre

“Wyndham House is thrilled to receive funds from the Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) through Health Canada, to support the Concurrent Specialized Youth Hub Project. These funds will enable the Concurrent Specialized Youth Hub to provide urgently needed care to some of the most vulnerable youth in our community who have been disproportionately affected by the opioid poisoning crisis, suicide and increased mental health crises associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to this health and service model that provides low-barrier assessment, treatment, and integrated care to young people with co-occurring issues will provide timely and appropriate access to care and improve social determinants of health for young people.”

Kristen Cairney
Program Director, Wyndham House

“We are so pleased to receive funding through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) for the “Strengthening the Peer Support Workforce in Waterloo-Wellington” project. The funding will enhance and strengthen a network of peer workers providing support to individuals using substances. We know how mutually beneficial peer support is to those who are in recovery receiving support and those providing support. The need for peer support for individuals using substances has never been more important, due to the ongoing opioid crisis, and the dramatic increase in mental health needs through the pandemic. This investment is timely and greatly appreciated. The project will also allow peer workers to receive many benefits through this initiative including: ongoing support and mentorship, Peer Support Canada certification, and training, which will increase the retention and job satisfaction of these valuable peer support workers.”

Helen Fishburn
CEO, CMHA Waterloo Wellington

“Stonehenge Therapeutic Community is grateful for the funding received through the Health Canada SUAP program, which will enable increased access to Peer based engagement and care for individuals who have experienced a drug poisoning or overdose through our Peer2Peer Overdose Response Program. Peer engagement is a crucial part of the care continuum related to substance use and mental health, and facilitates connections to support and treatment options through destigmatizing both substance use and the process of seeking related health and social supports”.

Lindsay Klassen
Director, Clinical Services, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community  

“Without this funding from SUAP, we would have never been able to support and train numerous agencies and individuals in Guelph and surrounding areas on how to administer Naloxone to reverse the effects of Opioid Poisoning. This life saving training and drug has saved countless lives within our community and given aid for people to help someone who may be experiencing Opioid Poisoning.”

Karen Lomax
Acting Harm Reduction Manager, ARCH HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health

Quick facts

  • On July 20th, 2022, the Government of Canada announced nearly $40 million in funding for 73 innovative community-led projects across Canada.

  • As of July 2022, the Government of Canada is currently supporting more than 20 “safer supply” pilot projects in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. This includes supporting a range of service delivery projects, research/knowledge transfer and exchange projects, and a National Safer Supply Community of Practice, for a total investment of more than $67 million. 

  • The latest data show that the number of opioid-related deaths remain high and have continued to climb, with a total of 7,560 opioid-related deaths in 2021. While the average number of opioid-related deaths per day was eight in 2016, this number has now more than doubled, reaching an all-time high of 21 deaths per day in 2021. The number of opioid-related hospitalizations also grew from 13 per day in 2016, to 17 per day in 2021.

  • Budget 2022 proposes to provide $100 million over three years to support harm reduction, treatment, and prevention at the community level.

  • This builds on the $116 million provided in Budget 2021 and $66 million in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for the Substance Use and Addictions Program.

  • The government continues to work closely with partners to provide a compassionate and evidence-based response to the crisis.

  • Since 2017, the government has committed $800 million to address the overdose crisis.

  • Addiction is not a choice. It is a treatable medical condition yet many people affected by addiction face stigma. Stigma is negative attitudes, beliefs or behaviours about or towards a group of people because of their situation in life. It includes discrimination, prejudice, judgment and stereotypes, which can isolate people who use drugs. The language we use has a direct and deep impact on people around us. All Canadians, including media and health professionals, can reduce stigma by changing the words they use related to substance use and people who uses drugs.

  • The projects announced today are funded through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program—a federal grants and contributions program that provides financial support to provinces, territories and non-governmental and Indigenous organizations to strengthen responses to drug and substance use issues in Canada.

Associated links


Maja Staka
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations 
Health Canada 

Public Inquiries:

Search for related information by keyword: Drug use | Health Canada | Canada | Controlled and illegal drugs | general public | news releases
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: