The opioid crisis is a national public health crisis that is devastating individuals, families and communities across the country. Tragically, nearly 4,000 Canadians lost their lives in 2017 as a result of apparent opioid-related overdoses. Without increased access to effective, evidence-based treatment options, people with substance use disorder will continue to be at risk for overdose. We must continue to work in a collaborative and comprehensive manner to address this crisis.
On September 6, 2018, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in British Columbia, announced a bilateral agreement (canada.ca) signed under the Government of Canada’s new Emergency Treatment Fund.
This agreement recognizes the investment of more than $71.7 million— $33.98 million from the Government of Canada, in addition to the province of British Columbia’s contribution of $37.76 million. The funding has been designated to enhance or increase access to quality treatment services for substance use disorder. This includes investments in:
- youth services provided by Foundry (foundrybc.ca) , which offers young people ages 12-24 health and wellness resources, services and supports;
- expanding injectable opioid agonist treatment, a treatment for people with severe opioid use disorder;
- supporting treatment beds;
- investing in ‘hope’ initiatives, designed to improve local-level capacity to connect individuals with the treatment options appropriate to their unique needs;
- developing strategies to enhance and improve treatment services;
- enhancing the treatment services provided by all health authorities; and
- investing in supportive recovery.
With this agreement, the governments of Canada and British Columbia are working to increase treatment services for people who are seeking help for substance use disorders.
“The opioid crisis continues to have a profound impact on thousands of people and their families across the country. I am pleased that we have signed this agreement with the Government of British Columbia to help accelerate access to treatment services. With the Emergency Treatment Fund, our Government is helping to ensure that innovative and comprehensive treatment options are available for Canadians who want and need them. I look forward to signing the remaining bilateral agreements in the coming months.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“Today's agreement with the federal government will help to save lives as we continue to work together to combat the overdose crisis. In British Columbia, we are escalating our response to this crisis every single day. Lives are being saved every day at overdose prevention sites; by connecting people to treatment; by expanding the available treatment options; and by training more prescribers. We will continue to build a system where people who need help can receive it quickly and where addiction is no longer treated as a moral failure tainted by shame, but as the health issue that it is.”
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions in British Columbia
- In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada committed more than $230 million over five years to address the opioid crisis. This funding includes $150 million for a cost-shared Emergency Treatment Fund. Related investments made by provinces and territories since January 2016 can also count towards the matching of federal funds.
- The latest national data for 2017 estimate that nearly 4,000 Canadians died of apparent opioid-related overdoses. That is up from an estimated 3,000 apparent opioid-related deaths in 2016.
- In September 2017, the Government of British Columbia allocated $322 million over three years (2017/18 – 2019/20) to address the overdose crisis; $170.6 million of that funding is dedicated to enhancing treatment services, provider training and outreach, and increasing the range of available opioid agonist treatments.
- The Government of British Columbia’s contribution of $37.76 Million is included in the $322 million multi-year investment and will be used to improve treatment and care, and contribute to improved health and social outcomes for people living with opioid use disorders.
- The Government of Canada’s contribution of $33.98 million from the Emergency Treatment Fund will be used to improve treatment and care, and contribute to improved health and social outcomes for people living with opioid use disorders.
Emergency Treatment Fund (canada.ca)