Into New Territory: Adapting to a Changing Landscape
During the 2021–2022 fiscal year, CCSA found new and innovative ways to share valuable information with people in Canada while navigating the ongoing drug toxicity crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.
Our annual report, Into New Territory: Adapting to a Changing Landscape shines a spotlight on how our staff put our knowledge to work. By adopting new delivery models, bringing innovative approaches to collaboration with partners and providing new insights to our stakeholders, we were able to help meet the needs of those we serve.
Putting Knowledge to Work in New Ways
During the past year, CCSA directly empowered individuals and organizations by sharing our knowledge in resourceful ways, including:
- Developing a first-of-its-kind toolkit for employers, unions and employees in the trades to help workers who are experiencing the significant harms of substance use.
- Contributing to a new subsection in the 19th edition of The Canadian Press Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors to help journalists, organizations and other writers use less stigmatizing language about substance use.
Adopting New Delivery Models
Pandemic restrictions limited in-person substance use services, and many providers transitioned to virtual models almost overnight. CCSA took on research on how those models were working for those we serve. We also adapted to these models to bring information to our audiences, including:
- Hosting the first-ever virtual version of CCSA’s Issues of Substance conference, which recorded the second-highest registration ever with 758 participants. This included many first-time attendees who may not have been able to attend an in-person event.
- Codeveloping a series of webinars and knowledge mobilization initiatives with the Canadian Health Workforce Network to raise awareness of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on community-based substance use health services and health workers.
Bringing New Approaches to Collaboration
In 2021–2022, we initiated partnerships, strengthened existing ties and continued to engage actively with the people we serve to create resources, including:
- Collaborating with more than a dozen international partners to create and then launch the world’s first Lower-Risk Gambling Guidelines in September 2021.
- Working with Foundry Victoria and concerned parents to develop Parents Like Us. The Unofficial Survival Guide to Parenting a Young Person with a Substance Use Disorder. This support resource for parents is based on the collected experiences and stories of its creators.
- Creating learning modules — in partnership with the Durham District School Board — for educators on substance use, stigma, cannabis and vaping, impaired driving, and alcohol to improve students’ understanding of these subjects.
Generating New Insights
CCSA continued to engage with partners throughout 2021–2022 on vitally important and inclusive research to ensure emerging questions are answered with sound evidence and the voice of those with lived or living experience. Highlights include:
- Published a report in March 2022 on successes and learnings from the joint CCSA–Alberta Family Wellness Initiative Brain Builders Lab. Since 2018, the lab has shared the Brain Story science about adverse childhood experiences with 34,550 stakeholders in the healthcare, education, policy and other sectors, as well as people with lived or living experience of mental health and substance use health challenges.
- Helping deepen Canada’s understanding of the effects of cannabis on driving, by supporting research on the prevalence of cannabis among drivers deemed culpable for collisions and developing a psychophysical test to assess cannabis impairment on the roadside.
Beginning A New Era
The announcement last year that our long-time CEO, Rita Notarandrea, would be retiring during the summer of 2022 sent CCSA looking for her successor.
As an organization, we are starting a new era under the leadership of Rita’s replacement, Dr. Alexander Caudarella. However, our objective remains the same. We will continue to find creative and informative methods to get our work into the hands of the people in Canada who need it most.
View annual reports from previous years: