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Ontario announces $6.84M for 53 new local addictions treatment beds

Once construction is complete at this vacant Lakeshore Drive car dealership, Canadore's 53-bed North Bay Addictions Centre of Excellence will improve access to specialized addictions services and supports

As soon as this summer, North Bay will be home to a new, fully-staffed addictions treatment centre and Canadore College will see its mental health and addictions students trained at the facility.

At Canadore's The Village, Friday, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli announced $6.84 million through the new Addictions Recovery Fund to immediately enhance access to bed-based addictions treatment supports in Nipissing, in conjunction with Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo.

“We recognize there are mental health and addictions challenges in our community,” says Fedeli. “Today’s investment through Canadore College will increase access to support services for those dealing with addiction and provide the opportunity to grow and prosper.”

The result will be Canadore's new North Bay Addictions Centre of Excellence and the funding will provide access to a total of 53 new addictions treatment beds, including nine new withdrawal management services beds, 24 new addictions treatment beds, and 20 new supportive treatment beds.

“Canadore College is pleased to be leading the change with community partners to provide much-needed mental health and addictions treatment services in the North. The establishment of the Addictions and Mental Health Treatment Centre of Excellence adds a much-needed resource to the North," observes Canadore President George Burton. "The service and treatment model fits with the vision Canadore has for The Village, the first health and wellness educational facility of its kind in Canada that blends Indigenous, Eastern, and Western practices — all of which embrace the concept of a healthy mind, body, and spirit."

The treatment centre will be located on the property of the former Farquhar car dealership on Lakeshore Drive. Officials are targeting this summer for a launch and say the operation could create more than 20 new positions.

Dr. Ben Lalonde, who has years of experience in the treatment of addictions and will take on the role of chief of staff at the North Bay Addictions Centre of Excellence, says the inclusion of the students from Canadore is an essential part of the collaboration. "We can train people as mental health and addictions workers and also train the patients to have more fulfilling lives."

“Both before and during the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in demand for high-quality addictions care that addresses the unique needs of vulnerable populations across Ontario,” says Tibollo. “This historic investment is an important step forward to protect our progress in our fight against COVID-19, and ensuring that individuals and families in Nipissing and the surrounding region have targeted, reliable access to the help they expect and deserve.”

Officials say these new beds will help hundreds of Ontarians in Nipissing and the surrounding region access specialized addictions treatment, including access to culturally sensitive supports for Indigenous clients.

"These targeted supports are necessary for healing First Nations communities, where addictions and mental health have long been a crisis," states Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare. "Access to safe and effective mental health and addictions services through First Nations-led approaches will ensure the health and safety of First Nations and prosperity for future generations. I am pleased with today's announcement of new investments benefitting First Nations across our region where it was much needed."

Hare later adds, "This a big step forward."

Burton notes the Indigenous Studies programs offered through The Village will allow Canadore to provide culturally safe and appropriate mental health and addiction services for Indigenous clients.

"As this new mental health and addictions centre integrates with existing service providers, our students will benefit from experiential learning opportunities led by an interprofessional faculty team. Canadore College has long been an economic driver in the region. We are thankful that now, with this support from the Government of Ontario, we will also be at the forefront of providing mental health and addiction services to the North."

North Bay Police Chief Scott Tod is pleased to support the project. 

“As police, we are faced daily with the devastating impact drug abuse and addiction has on individual lives and the ripple effects of crime and social disorder that addiction causes in communities across Ontario. We also know that, as police, we need the collaboration of our community partners to provide an effective, holistic response to the crisis of drug addiction. I am encouraged to see this investment in bed-based addiction treatment services for North Bay that will help address the needs of some of our community’s most vulnerable.”

Studies have shown opioid-related deaths surged by 79 per cent during the first two waves of the pandemic, with rates being three times higher in Northern Ontario. To meet the demand for treatment, the new Addictions Recovery Fund will support almost 400 new addictions treatment beds across the province, helping to stabilize and provide care for approximately 7,000 clients per year. This includes clients in northern, rural and Indigenous communities.

The $90 million Addictions Recovery Fund complements, but is separate from, the $175-million Roadmap to Wellness investment announced in the 2021 Budget and is being invested over three years. Investments of $7.2 million are being made in 2021-22, and $41.39 million in each of 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Addictions Recovery Fund investments in other addictions services and supports across the province include:

  • Six new Youth Wellness Hubs offering developmentally tailored primary care and mental health and addictions treatment for youth ages 12 to 25;
  • Two new Mobile Mental Health Clinics to provide a full suite of mental health and addictions services directly to individuals living in remote, rural and underserved communities;
  • Three new police-partnered Mobile Crisis Response Teams to support individuals in a mental health or addictions crisis;
  • Support for Indigenous-led land-based healing services; and
  • Additional community supports, including day/evening intensive treatment, mild to moderate intensive treatment, and after-care programs.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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