GNWT releases Work Plan for Improving Addictions Prevention and Recovery Services

Press Release

February 28, 2023

Minister of Health and Social Services, Julie Green, released the Addictions Prevention and Recovery Services Work Plan this week. The work plan outlines how and what the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) will do to build a strong continuum of coordinated and easily accessible addictions supports for all residents.

The two-year work plan sets out specific  actions  health and social services providers will be taking in response to the Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) 2022 findings and recommendations. The work plan also includes feedback from the Standing Committee on Government Operations (SCOGO), who completed a review of the OAG audit and proposed work plan in November 2022.

The work plan identifies five areas needing improvements to address the recommendations from the OAG. To ensure a successful implementation of the work plan, the Department and Authorities will be working closely with Indigenous Governments and communities, their partners and key stakeholders. The work plan advances change and makes improvements in the addictions and recovery services system.


“Addictions take a significant toll on lives across our territory for both those who are dependent and their family and friends who try to support them.  The health and social service workforce is committed to providing culturally safe and effective addictions prevention and recovery services to residents when and where they need it. This work plan advances our commitment to provide responsive, safe, and effective services. This comprehensive approach will ensure responsive actions that best meet the needs of residents.”

– Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services

Quick facts

  • The Addictions Prevention and Recovery Services in the Northwest Territories OAG Report was released in May 2022.
  • The audit was conducted for the period of August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2021.
  • The OAG’s findings focused on seven areas: equitable access, needs of diverse subpopulations, aftercare planning, coordination of addictions services, cultural safety, the use of disaggregated data, and outcomes for addictions services.
  • Department of Health and Social Services provided a copy of the draft work plan to SCOGO in August 2022 followed by a briefing in October 2022.
  • The final work plan sets out concreate actions that will be undertaken in response to the OAG audit and feedback from SCOGO.
  • The work plan identifies five areas within the addictions prevention and recovery system needing improvement to address the seven recommendations from the OAG:
    • increased understanding of residents’ self-determined mental wellness and addictions recovery needs to inform program planning and priority setting;
    • enhanced partnerships with Indigenous Governments and communities to ensure a continuum of services that better meets the addictions needs of residents;
    • improved access to culturally safe addiction prevention and recovery services;
    • increased consistency in coordination of addictions services and aftercare; and
    • enhanced ability to track community-identified and service user-identified outcomes.
  • In addition to work being undertaken in direct response to the audit, there are other initiatives that have already been implemented or are in process that also address the findings of the audit:
    • Creation of a Cultural Safety and Anti-Racism Unit within the Community, Culture & Innovation Division
    • Establishment of an Indigenous Advisory Body
    • Implementation of a Stepped Care 2.0 approach to community counselling
    • Implementation of Child and Youth Counsellors in NWT communities and schools
    • Implementation of the My Voice, My Choice Campaign for Youth Wellness
    • Establishment of the Peer Support and Addictions Recovery and Aftercare Funds
    • Enhancement of the On-the-Land Healing Fund and administration of Process Evaluation for the Fund
    • Development of a territorial approach to Managed Alcohol
    • Establishment of the Mental Wellness and Addictions Recovery Advisory Group
    • Creation of Indigenous Patient Advocate positions and an Office of Client Experience
    • Creation of an Indigenous Client Experience Council (in process)
  • Initiatives currently in development that address the findings include:
    • Establishment of Transitional Housing for Addiction Recovery
    • Development of a territorial model for Medical Detox
    • Establishment of Equity Frameworks and Tools

Related links

For media requests, please contact:

Jeremy Bird

Manager, Communications

Department of Health and Social Services

Government of the Northwest Territories

(867) 767-9052 ext. 49034


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