Addiction Matters – Delivering Results for Canadians: CCSA Annual Report, 2015-2016

Message from the Chair

It was indeed an honour to be asked to serve as CCSA’s interim Chair in February 2016: more than seven years on the Board of Directors have given me privileged insight into the discipline, passion and agility with which this organization delivers its important work.

CCSA’s Board of Directors comprises talented, expert volunteers who contribute because they are dedicated to addressing problematic substance use with reason and science. Our past Chair, Leanne Lewis, embodies these qualities. My sincere thank you and appreciation to Ms. Lewis on behalf of the entire Board for her experienced and clear-sighted leadership. We are also thankful to our alumni; we are fortunate to benefit from the ongoing contributions of many committed alumni who continue to lend their expertise.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and congratulate the CCSA team for its dedication, and for the successes that are elevating CCSA’s key priorities onto Canada’s national agenda and the international stage. Our flagship event, the Issues of Substance conference, experienced record attendance because of the calibre of its presenters. It brought together Canada’s best and brightest minds in the addiction field and proved to be exemplary of what can be achieved by taking a national view of the issues and fostering collective action to address them.

We were pleased by the results of last year’s Named Grant evaluation, which reinforced the validity and value of our work and provided excellent input for future planning. Initiatives like this that engage stakeholders and capture frontline needs ensure CCSA’s ability to anticipate and respond to the many emerging issues that characterize problematic substance use and addiction, and take the lead in finding solutions. The evaluation findings are one of many data sources that will inform strategic visioning for CCSA through to 2025 as we continue to be at the forefront of serious issues like fentanyl abuse, and collaborate with our provincial and territorial partners who administer programs on the ground across the country.

CCSA will be delivering on these activities under the respected leadership of Rita Notarandrea. Ms. Notarandrea was confirmed as CEO in 2015 following an extensive selection process. This news was well received by the Board, alumni, partners and staff.Ms. Notarandrea’s tenure as Deputy CEO and then interim CEO assures continuity for the organization, strengthened by the tremendous assets defined by her expertise, strategic thinking and insightful leadership.

The Board members are intensely proud of CCSA’s national, legislated mandate to reduce the harms of problematic substance use and addiction on the health and safety of Canadians. We value our privileged relationship with the Government of Canada and, specifically, Health Canada. The ex officio Board positions held by deputy ministers with Health Canada and Public Safety Canada ensure the right balance of engagement that enables CCSA to be effective at the senior decision-making levels while preserving our arms-length counsel to objectively inform policy and practice.

As a purveyor of evidence and a trusted advisor to all levels of government — federal, provincial, territorial and municipal — as well as to the addiction field,CCSA together with our partners will continue to steward problematic substance use and addiction onto the national agenda to ensure timely and collective responses.

CCSA’s unique role continues to bring national level coordination and expertise to mobilize knowledge and move evidence to action to improve services and supports for Canadians.

Together, our national voice results in clarity of action and collective impact.

Paula Tyler, Interim Chair

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