Government of Canada announces over $7 million to address harms related to substance use in Ontario 


March 2023

To help support the response to the overdose crisis and address harms related to substance use and the toxic illegal drug supply, the Government of Canada has announced over $7 million in funding for 8 innovative community-led projects across Ontario. 

With this funding, these projects will help improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of experiencing substance-related harms and overdose by scaling up prevention, harm reduction and treatment efforts across the country. 

Funding is provided through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP), which supports evidence-informed and innovative initiatives across a range of interventions—prevention, harm reduction and treatment—involving a broad range of legal and illegal substances. 

Ontario (total of $7,905,479)

The Bridge Collaborative Care Hub
Belleville and Quinte West Community Health Centre – Belleville, ON
$937,491 over 26 months to add a nurse as well as a peer harm reduction care team to an existing drop-in program for people who are experiencing homelessness and who use substances in the region of Belleville, Ontario. By adding a new hub care team that includes nurses, a peer support program lead and three new peer support workers, the organization will also be able to provide services such as basic medical care, access to harm reduction information and supplies, individual and group peer support, mental health counselling, and system navigation and referral services, therefore providing a wraparound approach to address and reduce harmful effects of substance use and homelessness.
Theme: Community-based
Funding envelope: B2022

Substance Use during the Perinatal Period: Moving Experiences from the Pandemic into Innovative Care Models
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (The) – Ottawa, ON
$526,134 over 27 months to develop a set of high-level clinical best practice recommendations for healthcare professionals that provide services for women who are using substances, including methamphetamines, during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the post-partum period. Innovative models of care will be explored and will inform recommendations related to women's health service delivery. The focus will be on prevention, health promotion, harm reduction, early intervention and treatment. Educational resources will be developed and disseminated electronically and on social media platforms in order to reach audiences at the national, provincial/territorial and community levels.
Theme: Substance use workforce
Funding envelope: B2022

National smoking cessation campaign
Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Toronto, ON
$1,729,520 to extend the “Smoke Free Curious” campaign ─ a collaboration between the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada. This national smoking cessation campaign helps people access information about tobacco use and encourages people who smoke to try quitting by offering tools and supports that can help, including nicotine replacement therapies like the patch and gum.
Theme: Vaping and tobacco
Funding envelope: Tobacco

Deploying Innovative Tools for Engaging Communities Affected by the Opioid Crisis
Digital Public Square – Toronto, ON
$1,343,704 over 25 months to apply an existing mobile-optimized web application to engage people working in physically demanding industries in reducing stigma and supporting positive health behaviours related to opioid use. Built on educational psychology, the tool will allow people to engage quickly with others and learn new information through a series of interactive questions and prompts. Focusing on individuals living with pain as well as those who work in physically demanding industries, the project will support, at its first stage, men between 25 and 54. Designed to help test and build knowledge, challenge preconceived beliefs, and encourage behavioral change, the anonymous tool will also focus on Indigenous people working in construction and trade related occupations.
Theme: Men in trades

Emerging evidence in harm reduction and its implications for frontline practice
CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information  – Toronto, ON
$322,410 over 26 months to engage key harm reduction leaders and people with lived or living experience across Canada to collect and share emerging evidence and trends related to harm reduction and substance use. Specifically, the project will focus on gathering the latest information and knowledge related to harm reduction and substance use in order to increase the capacity of service providers such as frontline health and social and harm reduction workers across Canada to deliver evidence-based harm reduction services. While the landscape of drug use evolves, the project will also develop and provide bilingual plain-language products for front line workers that will synthesize the latest knowledge and evidence found on harm reduction and substance use.
Theme: Substance use workforce
Funding envelope: B2022

Peer-to-Peer Harm Reduction in Toronto’s Supportive Housing and Shelters
University Health Network – Toronto, ON
$1,658,354 over 27 months to expand the roll-out of a digital overdose prevention app for people who use drugs alone and are residents of supportive housing and shelters in Toronto. Building on a 30-day pilot project that handed out 32 refurbished mobile phones to individuals, the new app will expand its reach to include 12 high-risk building representing up to 400 individuals in Toronto. The app itself is designed to ask its users to set an alarm that will countdown as they experience their high. If the user does not silence the alarm after 15 seconds, identified responders will be advised in order to get to the location and administer naloxone. Working alongside the Centre for Drug Policy and Evaluation (CDPE), the project will also include digital overdose prevention app user interactions, and a project website. 
Theme: Online/virtual
Funding envelope: B2022

Vaping and electronic cigarette toxicity overview and recommendations (Project VECTOR): A mixed methods project
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Toronto, ON
$1,199,492 over 16 months towards the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Vaping and Electronic Cigarette Toxicity Overview and Recommendations (VECTOR): A Mixed Methods Project which seeks to develop greater understanding of the impacts of vaping on the health of people who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, and people who do not. This information will help address scientific uncertainty related to vaping, and improve communication about the health hazards of vaping – particularly for youth and people who do not smoke – and potential benefits of vaping products for people who smoke. It aims to assist healthcare providers and people in Canada make informed decisions about the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products.
Theme: Vaping and tobacco
Funding envelope: Tobacco

Vasantham's Substance Use and Mental Health Project
Vasantham - A Tamil Seniors Wellness Centre Inc. – Toronto, ON (Scarborough) 
$188,374 over 26 months to deliver culturally informed psycho-educational therapy and prevention education for the Tamil population in the Greater Toronto Area. The project will engage people and provide service that will help address fear, stigma and language barriers around trauma, mental health and substance use and inform how and where to get help. It will focus on individuals who are struggling with substance use or are at-risk. The project will produce multilingual information pamphlets on mental health, cultural stigma, and substance use. 
Theme: Racially/Culturally marginalized
Funding envelope: B2022

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