PAN supports creation of Community Action Teams and Dedicated funding for OD Crisis

In follow-up to the December announcement of the establishment of a Provincial Overdose Emergency Response Centre (OERC), an update and funding announcement was provided today (February 1st, 2018) by Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions (MMHA). Minister Darcy made the announcement made the announcement in Abbotsford, at The King Haven Treatment Centre.

Also, consistent with the MMHA’s commitment to community engagement, a Technical Briefing was also held on January 31st to apprise stakeholders, including PAN and our member organizations, of the pending announcement that took place this morning.

Minister Darcy’s announcement today focused on efforts to support mobilization of the community response in 18 of the hardest areas in BC.   No health region has been left untouched by this crisis; priority communities in urgent need have been identified.

In each of these communities, Community Action Teams are being set up to develop area-specific plans to respond to the crisis, using eight interconnected strategies (see below) to build comprehensive, coordinated care. Each of the Regional Health Authorities are working in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority to develop the Community Action Teams.

In 2017-18, a total of $3 million in dedicated funding is available through the Community Crisis Innovation Fund; $1.5 million from the OERC Community Action Team Grants. Another $1.5 million will be available to all B.C. communities, through a Community Crisis Response Grants application process. The Community Crisis Innovation Fund will also be available in 2018-19 and 2019-20, with an investment of $6 million each year. This funding is part of the government’s three-year, $322-million investment to address the overdose crisis. (Read entire press release)


Once in place, Community Action Teams from these priority communities will be eligible to apply for grants up to $100,000 to put their plans into action. Ministry funding will be administered through the Community Action Initiative. Grants will be targeted towards prevention, escalating responses (including planning and coordination) in any of the strategic areas.  The aim is see this start as soon as the Teams are ready.

An additional general funding stream will be open to communities that haven’t been identified as one of the 18 priority areas.  Details on this funding opportunity  will be available towards the end of March, according to OERC staff.

PAN is encouraged by Minister Darcy’s announcement concerning the Community Action Teams, including the stated commitment to engage a diverse and broad spectrum of key stakeholders in each of the priority communities.  It is clear from our perspective that an effective collective response to the OD crisis demands full participation across all sectors of society, with a place for people with lived experience at the table.

Further, PAN member organizations are already working actively in these priority communities, delivering harm reduction and related services that are nimble, innovative and responsive to the needs and realities of the local communities. We look forward to seeing how these new funding streams announced today by Minister Darcy, might build on and enhance some of the successful work that is already well underway.


The communities that have been identified as priorities are:

From Vancouver Coastal Health

  • Powell River
  • Richmond
  • Vancouver


From Fraser Health

  • Abbotsford
  • Chilliwack
  • Langley
  • Maple Ridge
  • Surrey


From Interior Health

  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Vernon


From Northern Health

  • Fort St. John
  • Prince George


From Island Health

  • Campbell River
  • Duncan
  • Nanaimo
  • Port Alberni
  • Victoria


The eight essential strategies that make up the OERC-identified comprehensive approach to a coordinated response are:

  • Harm reduction– Access to naloxone supply, distribution, and capacity building to ensure there are people and treatments to respond to overdose in emergency situations.
  • Overdose prevention services, including overdose prevention sites and drug checking
  • Intensive case management
  • Treatment access, including access to opioid agonist therapy, injectable options, evidence-based treatment programs, and pain management plans
  • Supporting comprehensive social networks. This includes healing circles; housing, food and income security
  • Engaging the wisdom of people with lived experience, including peer empowerment and training at the community level
  • Cultural safety and humility. Ensuring the inclusion of Indigenous approaches to healing; trauma-informed care and the involvement of Elders
  • Addressing stigma, discrimination and human rights of people who use drugs


Learn More

Government press release

Fentanyl-Detected Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2017 (Coroners Service, January 31, 2018)

PAN’s Drug Use and Overdose Response resources

December 1, 2017: PAN Welcomes BC Government’s Launch of a new Provincial Overdose Emergency Response Centre: A Multi-Sectoral and Region Specific Approach to the Opioid Crisis



Questions? Feedback? Get in touch! 

Jennifer Evin Jones, Executive Director,
[email protected]





Image: Focus by Andrew, Flickr (Creative Commons)