Canada's health minister launches national call for proposals in the Substance Use and Addictions Program


The federal government launched a national call on Thursday for proposals for Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu made the announcement on Thursday in Winnipeg.

“It isn’t stigmatization and criminalization that helps people who use substances, but rather the opposite,” Hajdu said. “It’s compassionate, evidence-informed care that happens in communities.”

Hajdu said recent data has shown opioid deaths continue to rise and the pandemic has exacerbated the crisis.

“We are seeing a tragedy unfold across the country for many people and many families.”

The federal government committed $116 million in the 2021 budget to address substance use and addictions issues in Canada – including opioids, stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.

Thursday’s announcement offers funding for projects that address problematic substance use prevention, harm reduction, and treatment initiatives across the country.

The program is seeking application for projects that, among other criteria, reach at-risk individuals or those facing barriers accessing services. The program also prioritizes regions where there may be gaps in available services.

Eligible recipients include not-for-profit health organizations, Indigenous groups, and education centres.

“It's about enabling community programs that are doing this really great work to have the funds they need in a sustainable and predictable way to continue to save lives," Hajdu said.

Last month, the program contributed over $7 million to 13 projects across Canada, including seven specifically focused on Indigenous communities.

Applications for the program are open until September 24, 2021.