Minister Vandal announces $2.5 million to provide needed support for people who use substances in Manitoba

News release

September 26, 2022 | Winnipeg, Manitoba – Canada’s overdose crisis continues to have a tragic toll on individuals, families and communities across the country. The pandemic has contributed to increases in substance use and substance related harms in Canada. Isolation, stress, toxic street-drug supply, and reduced access to services have all contributed to the worsening of the crisis with data showing that 7,560 people died of an opioid overdose across Canada in 2021. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring all Canadians have access to the life-saving substance use services and supports they need.  Last year, the Government of Canada, through Budget 2021, committed $116 million for the Substance Use and Addictions Program to support a range of innovative approaches to prevention, harm reduction, and treatment.  

This funding is providing 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.

Today, the Hon. Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, announced  $2,509,356 to 8 projects across Manitoba including $323,670 to St. Boniface Street Links. With the support of this funding, St. Boniface Street Links will be able to implement their Outreach and Supportive Interventions for Substance Use (OASIS) programming, which will provide wraparound supports and individualized care planning to individuals who are at a heightened risk of substance-related overdoses and who face multiple barriers to accessing care in the Winnipeg area. Participants will include people with underlying or co-occurring mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, and personality disorders.

The Government of Canada continues 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 work towards an end to this national public health crisis.

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.


“The overdose crisis continues to impact families and communities across the country, including here in Manitoba, and was  exacerbated by the challenges of the pandemic. By supporting initiatives like St. Boniface Street Links we can help Canadians receive the health services and support they need to improve their health and overall quality of life.”
–The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

“The level of drug use in this city and province, an escalating rate of overdose death and other harms can only be described as a public health crisis.  Governments and philanthropy willing to resource innovative, high impact projects like OASIS will see a reduction in loss of life, reduced homelessness, reduced crime and reduced pressure on policing, EMS and hospitals."
–Marion Willis, founder and director of St. Boniface Street Links

“Drug overdose in Canada has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic and with the increasingly toxic drug supply. Recent data shows historic opioid overdose-related deaths across Canada in 2021. Too many lives have been lost to this crisis, leaving too many families and friends to grieve. Today, our government is taking further action by investing in projects that will support people dealing with problematic substance use across the country. I thank all the organizations receiving funding for their dedication in decreasing substance use harms, preventing overdose, increasing safer supply initiatives, and reducing stigma.”
–The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • The projects announced today are funded through Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP).

  • Through the SUAP, the Government of Canada provides grant and contribution funding to other levels of government, as well as community and not-for-profit organizations, to address current issues associated with substance use (including drugs) in Canada. Since 2017, the SUAP has supported over 300 projects across Canada. This investment includes more than $67 million invested for reduced risk procurement.

  • 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 project announced today is 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


Kyle Allen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Media Relations
Health Canada

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