Government of Canada announces nearly $10 million to support Indigenous communities address substance-related harms

by ahnationtalk on December 2, 2022286 Views

From: Health Canada

Improving health outcomes for Indigenous people at risk of substance-related harms and overdose across Canada

December 2, 2022

The ongoing effects of colonialism and institutional racism are closely linked to the disproportionate harms that the overdose crisis and increasingly toxic drug supply have had on Indigenous Peoples. The Government of Canada is committed to addressing these harms and connecting all Indigenous communities with the targeted, trauma informed, and culturally safe mental health and substance use supports they need.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced nearly $10 million in federal funding for 16 projects across Canada through Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP).

The funding announced today will directly support people in Indigenous communities and allow innovative community-led projects to serve the many communities and people who need them. That said, more needs to be done to help Indigenous individuals, families and communities across the country access life-saving substance use services and supports.

We will continue to work in partnership with Indigenous leadership, all levels of government, partners, stakeholders, people with lived and living experience of addiction, and organizations in communities across the country to save lives and improve health outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis.


“Indigenous Peoples carry a disproportionate burden of the harms related to the overdose and toxic illegal drug crisis. This crisis has only intensified due to the pandemic, making it imperative that we act now. Today’s funding will make a significant difference in helping First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities struggling with substance use connect with the culturally sensitive and trauma informed substance use and mental health supports they need.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples continue to experience significant impacts to their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health due to historical and ongoing processes of colonization. The funding from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program  makes it possible for Native Child and Family Services of Toronto to provide critical and culturally grounded health care services across the City of Toronto. Community members accessing these services continue to be disproportionately impacted by the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the escalating opioid crisis. Harm reduction is health care, and we are grateful to Health Canada for supporting us in delivering these important services in ways that are reflective of and co-developed with the community we serve.”

Jeffrey Schiffer, PhD
Executive Director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has made significant recent investments to improve mental wellness in Indigenous communities, with an approximate investment of $645 million in 2021-22. These investments are made to meet the immediate mental wellness needs of communities by supporting Indigenous-led suicide prevention, life promotion and crisis response, including through crisis line intervention services, and enhancing the delivery of culturally-appropriate substance use treatment and prevention services in Indigenous communities.
  • In addition, since 2017, through SUAP, the Government of Canada has supported over 300 projects across the country to respond to substance use issues. This includes 40 current projects led by or for Indigenous communities.
  •  The initiatives announced today stretch across the continuum of care (prevention, harm reduction, treatment), and vary from community-based service delivery projects like drug checking to treatment, recovery and education projects.
  • Budget 2022 announced $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.

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Maja Staka
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Public Inquiries:

Media Relations
Health Canada


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