Government of Canada

Government of Canada

May 14, 2008 13:38 ET

Canada, BC, Vancouver Working Together to Find Treatment Solutions for Residents of Vancouver's Downtown East Side

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health was joined by City of Vancouver Mayor Mr. Sam Sullivan to announce new treatment services that will help to treat individuals living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

A total of $10 million in federal funding will be provided over five years, and the program will be implemented in partnership with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, an agency of the British Columbia government. Minister Clement and British Columbia's Health Minister George Abbott are finalizing the agreement for implementation of these new services.

"As part of the National Anti-Drug Strategy's Treatment Action Plan, this new initiative will provide improved treatment for individuals living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside," said Minister Clement. "These services will include an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team of professionals, and 20 new treatment beds dedicated to vulnerable female drug addicts."

The ACT team will offer a multidisciplinary staff of approximately 12 members representing the fields of psychiatry, medicine, nursing, therapy, and rehabilitation, and 24/7 service capacity for 70-75 clients with the most severe functional impairments, who do not access traditional mental health and addictions services.

The new treatment beds will provide transitional abstinence-based treatment service for concurrent disorders. These transitional beds will offer a stable environment for the most marginalized and disadvantaged women living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

"I am optimistic that the kinds of programs made possible under this agreement will make a real difference in the lives of the people who need help the most on Vancouver's Downtown East Side," said Minister Abbott.

"Today's announcement supports our commitment to delivering compassionate solutions for people suffering from drug addiction," said Mayor Sullivan. "In addition to supporting treatment services and community partnerships, this significant investment recognizes the social challenges of the Downtown Eastside as a national issue. I want to thank the Government of Canada for responding to these local priorities and we look forward to more partnerships in the future."

Minister Clement also welcomed a proposal to establish a research treatment centre for concurrent disorders in Vancouver - as proposed by the University of British Columbia. A formal proposal will be submitted to the Mental Health Commission of Canada by UBC in the coming weeks.

In addition, Minister Clement announced $10.65 million dedicated ongoing funding for community-based initiatives through the national Hepatitis C Prevention, Support and Research Program.

"Rising rates of Hepatitis C is another unfortunate outcome of increased injection drug use. These funding investments demonstrate the Government of Canada's determination to work with our partners within all levels of government to address the devastating impacts on our communities that can result from the transmission of Hepatitis C," said Minister Clement.

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month in Canada, and May 19, 2008 signals the first time community groups globally will be marking World Hepatitis Day on the same day.

For more information about this announcement, please visit the National Anti-Drug Strategy Web site (

For more information on hepatitis C, please visit the Public Health Agency Website ( and click on the hepatitis feature.

Contact Information

  • Government of Canada:
    Health Canada
    Media Relations Office
    Public Health Agency of Canada:
    Media Relations Office
    Philippe Brideau
    Government of British Columbia, Department of Health:
    Michelle Stewart for Minister Abbott
    City of Vancouver:
    David Hurford