Government of Canada announces more than $1.8 million investment to help address harms related to substance use in Hamilton, Ontario

News release

This funding will help people at risk of substance-related harms and overdose in the Hamilton region

September 11, 2023 | Hamilton, ON | Health Canada

Every day, families and communities across Canada lose loved ones to the toxic drug and overdose crisis. We are responding to this crisis by taking a collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based approach, focused on prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement. Our goal is to increase access to services, to promote well-being and resilience, to reduce stigma and harms, and to save lives.

Today, the Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced more than $1.8 million in federal funding for three projects in Hamilton through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). This funding will allow the organizations to increase access to services for those who use drugs and help improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of experiencing substance-related harms.

With this funding, the City of Hamilton will build on existing outreach services for individuals who use drugs and are experiencing issues related to homelessness. St. Joseph’s Healthcare will develop measurement-based care for patients with substance use disorders. And the AIDS Network will be able to provide pharmaceutical-grade medication as an alternative to the toxic illegal drug supply, and wraparound supports such as employment opportunities and access to harm reduction programming.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with all levels of government, partners, Indigenous communities, stakeholders, people with lived and living experience, and community organizations across the country to support a full range of services and improve health outcomes for all Canadians, save lives and work towards an end to this national public health crisis.


"The toxic drug and overdose crisis continues to take a tragic toll on the families, loved ones and communities across Canada, including in Hamilton. We are committed to supporting organizations who are on the front lines, in-community, that are helping to keep people who use drugs safe. Today’s investment will help these organizations scale-up that life-saving work for people who are at risk of experiencing substance-related harms and overdose."

The Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate
Minister of Health

"There is no one size fits all solution to this crisis. It's more important than ever that we invest in solutions rooted in prevention, harm reduction and treatment, this is how we're going to save lives."

Lisa Hepfner
Member of Parliament, Hamilton Mountain

"This SUAP funding is a critical catalyst to accelerate the availability and adoption of important treatments innovations for individuals suffering from substance use disorders. There are no 'silver bullets' when it comes to addiction, but great progress has been made in developing evidence-based strategies and expanding access and infrastructure also expands the number of people who are likely to achieve recovery."

Dr. James MacKillop, Director, Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research
St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University

Quick facts

  • The project announced today is funded through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). Through SUAP, the Government of Canada provides grants and contributions funding to other levels of government, as well as community-led and not-for-profit organizations, to respond to current drug and substance use issues in Canada.

  • The additional funding for this project announced in Hamilton today was granted through the Government's federal 2022 Budget.

  • Since 2017, over $500 million has been committed through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addiction Program for more than 380 projects.

  • Addiction is a treatable medical condition, not a choice, yet many people affected by addiction face stigma and feel shame. 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 use drugs.

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Alexander Fernandes
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Ya'ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations  
Health Canada  

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