How the Province is Responding

On April 14, 2016, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Act due to the significant rise in opioid-related overdose deaths reported in B.C. since the beginning of 2016. The declaration of a public health emergency under the Act the allows for real-time information to be collected, reported and analyzed across the health system, to identify immediately where risks are arising and take proactive action to warn and protect people who use drugs. This is the first time Dr. Kendall has used the act to enact these emergency powers.

In September 2017, the provincial government allocated $322 million over the next three years to save lives, end stigma and improve access to services for people struggling with addiction. Led by the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the government is taking an all-of-province approach to combat the overdose crisis that includes crucial additional investments and improvements to mental health and addictions services.

In December 2017, to escalate its response across all sectors and spearhead urgent, life-saving action, the Province launched the Overdose Emergency Response Centre. The centre is working provincially, regionally and locally to mobilize resources within communities to intervene quickly to save lives and deliver proactive treatment and support on the ground to proactively identify and support people at risk from overdose.

Community Crisis Innovation Fund

The government is investing $3 million in 2017/18 through the Community Crisis Innovation Fund to support community-based overdose prevention actions across the province, and this will be delivered in two ways.

  1. $1.5 million in Community Action Team Grants is designated for the initial 18 Community Action Teams identified through overdose data as having the most urgent need. These communities will receive up to $100,000 each in one-time provincial funding to facilitate life-saving responses, early intervention and support people in accessing evidenced-based proactive treatment.
  2. There is an additional $1.5 million available in 2017/18 to all B.C. communities in need of funding to support overdose prevention efforts through Community Crisis Response Grants. These grants will be administered by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions Overdose Emergency Response Centre in partnership with the Community Action Initiative (CAI). 

Please email OERC@gov.bc.ca for information on funding criteria for Community Crisis Response Grants and the application process or check back here for more details as they become available. 

To learn more about the actions government is taking, check out the information below.

Overdose Emergency Response Centre

Key Updates and Resources