Ministers Philpott and Hoskins to Host Opioid Conference & Summit

Two-day Conference and Summit will bring together a variety of experts and people with lived experience to discuss the current opioid crisis

November 15, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada

Canada is experiencing a public health crisis due to growing numbers of overdoses and deaths involving opioids. This has an impact on families and communities across Canada, and includes Canadians of all ages and socioeconomic groups.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Health, and the Honourable Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, will be co-hosting an Opioid Conference and Summit in Ottawa on November 18 and 19, 2016, which also marks the end of National Addictions Awareness Week.

The Opioid Conference on November 18 will bring together a broad range of speakers and participants for a national discussion on actions to address the harms related to opioid misuse and abuse in Canada, and to identify concrete actions for moving forward. The sessions will reflect perspectives from provinces, territories and key stakeholders, including addictions experts, the medical community, Indigenous groups, government and non-governmental organizations, as well as Canadians with lived experience. The Opioid Summit on November 19 will bring together individuals and organizations that have the authorities and commitment to take action to combat the opioid crisis. Canadians are invited to view the conference by following the live broadcast on November 18 and following #OCO16 on social media.

To mark National Addictions Awareness Week this year, Health Canada has released four testimonial videos featuring personal stories from Canadians directly affected by opioid misuse. These powerful videos aim to increase awareness of the effects of problematic opioid use on the lives of former users and their families. Health Canada would like to thank the families who have shared their stories, as well as Portage, the Canadian Addictions Treatment Centres, and the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres for their collaboration on these videos.

Contributing to the significant work underway nationally, Ontario recently announced a comprehensive strategy to prevent opioid addiction and overdose. This strategy includes designating Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, as Ontario’s first-ever Provincial Overdose Coordinator to launch a new surveillance and reporting system to better respond to opioid overdoses and inform how best to direct care.

Ontario’s strategy also includes developing evidence-based standards on appropriate opioid prescribing, delisting high-strength formulations of long-acting opioids, increasing access to effective medications and treatment used to treat addiction and prevent overdose, and placing stricter controls on how fentanyl patches are provided for pain management.

Quick Facts

  • Introduced by Minister Philpott in June 2016, Health Canada’s Opioid Action Plan focuses on better informing Canadians about the risks of opioids, supporting better prescribing practices, reducing easy access to unnecessary opioids, supporting better treatment options for patients, and improving the national evidence base upon which policy decisions are made.
  • The Government of Canada supports the Good Samaritan Overdose Act, introduced into the House of Commons by MP Ron McKinnon, which will save lives by removing the fear of a drug possession charge for individuals who witness an overdose to call for emergency help.
  • Access to naloxone has been improved, and is now available to all Canadians including first responders, police and families without a prescription.
  • Ontario is investing $17 million annually in Ontario’s Chronic Pain Network to create or enhance 17 chronic pain clinics across the province.
  • Ontario’s opioid strategy was informed by the recommendations of the Methadone Treatment and Services Advisory Committee, which was established by the province to advise on strengthening opioid addiction treatment and related services.


“Communities across Canada are feeling the impacts from a growing number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths. To combat this serious public health issue, we need to work together, share expertise, improve our evidence base and identify a common path forward. I look forward to co-hosting this important conference as we come together to discuss what’s next in our fight against this crisis.”

Jane Philpott
Federal Minister of Health

“Opioid misuse is the third leading cause of accidental death in Ontario. Ontario is committed to working with partners across Canada to develop a nationwide response to this crisis, further strengthening Ontario’s own comprehensive strategy. Given the urgency of this issue, taking action now will have a real impact on Canadians affected by opioid addiction and overdose across the country.”

Eric Hoskins
Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care

“The opioid crisis has put a spotlight on the need for action grounded in evidence to improve the lives of those suffering from an addiction to opioids and other substances. We know that no one organization or sector can successfully address the issues of overdose and addiction on its own. What binds us is our knowledge of how this crisis is impacting individuals, families, and communities across the country; our recognition of the crisis as a national health issue requiring immediate and compassionate responses; and our commitment to making things better.”

Rita Notarandrea
CEO, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

Associated Links


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

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