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Mission Statement

The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid & Substance Strategy Leadership Committee is committed to the ongoing development and implementation of a community based opioid and poly substance strategy that will reduce the burden of related social and health issues in our community.

Vision Statement

A community in which the harms associated with opioids and other substance misuse are well understood and a multi-sectoral, evidence-based approach is adopted with a realization of benefits as well as harms for individuals, families, communities and society.


We are committed to actively engage and work with organizations, groups and individuals to achieve positive change.

Data Sharing:
We are committed to collecting and sharing relevant data in order to address this issue to the best of the committee’s combined ability.

Evidence-Informed Decision Making:
We are committed to using the best available evidence to guide the decision making process.

Community Engagement:
We are committed to working with those with lived and front-line experience to develop and implement strategies to address the opioid and substance misuse crisis.

Structure & Responsibilities

The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid & Substance Strategy Leadership Committee (WECOSS-LC) is a collaborative of stakeholders from public health, emergency services, law enforcement agencies (Windsor Police, LaSalle Police, OPP, Amherstburg Police), the Local Health Integration Network, the City of Windsor, Windsor-Essex municipalities, Windsor-Essex hospitals, addiction and mental health service providers, education, and pharmacy(s).

Each agency that is a member of the committee will have a maximum of 1 to 2 representatives in attendance. Agency representatives should be individuals at a senior level within the organization that are able to represent their organization in a decision-making capacity. Members should ensure that a designate is selected for the committee to attend in their absence to ensure representation.

Further membership will be open to additional community groups at the discretion of the Chairs. Membership shall be renewed automatically until the individual/group requests in writing, to the Chairs, that they be removed from the membership list. Members who do not attend at least 50% of the meetings annually will be contacted by the Chair(s) to determine if continued membership is desired.

The structure of the WECOSS Leadership Committee will be one committee as a whole, with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit serving as the lead organization, assuming the role of Co-Chair and providing resource support for the committee, including the recording of minutes and distribution of agendas. Essex-Windsor EMS will serve as the second Co-Chair for the committee. Decision-making will be completed through a voting process. Only members present at the time of the vote will be counted towards consensus. Any split-vote scenarios would be decided by the Co-Chairs.

Pillar Working Groups

Under the guidance and oversight of the Leadership Committee, four working groups will be created, each with a focus on one of the pillars of prevention/education, harm reduction, treatment/recovery, and enforcement/justice.

Membership for the four working groups will be selected by the Leadership Committee, with a minimum of one member from each Leadership Committee organization represented on at least one of the working groups as appropriate. One peer representative will also hold a seat on each working group to contribute on behalf of people with lived experience using opioids. Chair/Co-Chairs of working groups will be approved by the Leadership Committee and a resource person from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will be assigned to support each working group. Chairs/Co-Chairs of the working groups should be identified by the first meeting. Additional members may be added to a working group by invitation from the Chair/Co-Chair.

The objectives and outputs of the working groups will include:

  • Implementation of shared programing, guided by the recommendations from the WECOS report.
  • Development of an annual plan, complete with timelines to guide their work on individual activities to support the WECOSS.
  • Creation of a project charter (see Appendix A) for each major project that is undertaken by the working groups. These charters will be reviewed and approved by the WECOSS-LC.
  • Development of evaluation strategies to measure outcomes and outputs of shared programs
  • Regular reporting to the Leadership Committee on progress of collaborative work and for further direction quarterly. Additional communication by email will also be utilized as needed to support the WECOSS.

Pillar working groups will meet a minimum of six times per year or more frequently as determined by the Chair/Co-Chairs. Decision-making will be completed through a voting process. Only members present at the time of the vote will be counted towards consensus. Any split-vote scenarios would be decided by the working group Chair/Co-Chairs.


Responsibilities of Chair/Co-Chair

  • Calling and chairing the meetings 
  • Working with other members to set the agenda for meetings, as well as ensuring an agenda is prepared and minutes are captured.
  • Representing the WECOSS Leadership Committee’s interests in the community and at functions.
  • Sharing and exchanging relevant information with members of the coalition.
  • Adhering to the values of the WECOSS Leadership Committee.
  • Identifying new people or organizations interested in becoming members of working groups.
  • Representing the WECOSS Leadership Committee at community events and in the media.


Responsibilities of Members

  • Sharing and exchanging relevant data and information, events and activities with members of the WECOSS Leadership Committee.
  • Attending and actively participating in meetings of the WECOSS Leadership Committee.
  • Notifying WECOSS Leadership Committee Co-Chairs of any media engagements or community presentations conducted on behalf of the WECOSS and/or Leadership Committee.
  • Adhering to the values of the WECOSS Leadership Committee.

The WECOSS Leadership Committee will meet a minimum of four (4) times per year or more frequently as deemed appropriate. The following group member meeting guidelines will be followed: 

  • We will respect the opinions of all members and treat each other with respect.
  • We will actively contribute to the discussions.
  • We will keep an open mind to new and different ideas.
  • We will ensure that the mission, vision and values underpin all discussions and recommendations for activity.

Terms of Reference are to be confirmed annually.

Approved through vote.

Committee Members

A list of committee member names, with their respective title and organization
Name Title and Organization

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Co-Chair

Acting Medical Officer of Health, WECHU

Bruce Krauter, Co-Chair

Justin Lammers (Alternate)

Chief, Essex-Windsor EMS

Deputy Chief, Essex-Windsor EMS

Tom Bain

Warden, County of Essex; County Council Representative

Steven Bellaire

Principal – Safe Schools, Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board

Michael Brennan

Executive Director, AIDS Committee of Windsor

Matt Capel-Cure

Tim Berthiaume (Alternate)

Sergeant, Amherstburg Police Service

Chief, Amherstburg Police Service

Peter Chevalier

Al Gibson (Alternate)

Staff Sergeant, LaSalle Police Service

Detective Constable-Drug Resource Officer, LaSalle Police Service

Sarah Cipkar

Community Development Coordinator Responsible for Neighbourhood Engagement Initiatives, United Way Neighbourhood Engagement Strategy

Claudia den Boer

Robert Moroz (Alternate)

CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association

Integrated Director, Outpatient and Community Services, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare/CMHA

Drew Dilkens

Jelena Payne

Mayor, Corporation of the City of Windsor

Community Development and Health Commissioner and Corporate Leader Social Development, Health, Recreation and Culture, Corporation of the City of Windsor

Nicole Dupuis

Director, Health Promotion, WECHU

Sylvie Guenther

Regional Director (Windsor Site) for the Southwest Aboriginal Health Access Centre

Michelle Graham

Residential Program Manager, St. Leonard’s; Harm Reduction Network

Dr. Sonja Grbevski

Vice President for Brain and. Behaviour Health, HDGH

Alison Malott

Peer Representative

Theresa Marentette

CEO & Chief Nursing Officer, WECHU

Dawn Maziak

Director, Sub-Region Essex, Erie-St. Clair LHIN Essex

Dr. Robert McKay

Executive Director, Erie-St. Clair Clinic

Gary McNamara


Bart Dipasquale (Alternate)

Chair, Windsor-Essex County Board of Health, and

County of Essex Rep.

Deputy Mayor, Town of Amherstburg, County of Essex Representative

Robert Modestino


Robert Moroz


Patrick Kolowicz (Alternate)

Integrated Director, Outpatient and Community Services

Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare/CMHA

Director, Mental Health & Addictions, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Jelena Payne

Community Development and Health Commissioner and Corporate Leader Social Development, Health, Recreation and Culture

Frank Providenti

Jill Lawrence

Pamela Mizuno (Alternate)

Inspector, Windsor Police Service

Staff Sergeant, Windsor Police Service

Deputy Chief, Windsor Police Service

Sharon Pyke

Superintendent of Education, Greater Essex County District School Board

Michelle Reiser

Director of Emergency & Access & Flow, Erie Shores HealthCare

Edith St. Arnaud

Superintendent of Education Responsible for Student Services, CSC Providence  (French Catholic School Board)

Mike Symons

Edward Marocko (Alternate)

Detective Sergeant, Ontario Provincial Police

Inspector, Ontario Provincial Police

Rita Taillefer

Cheryl Zaffino (Alternate)

Executive Director, Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre

Director, Street Health/Teen Health

Jeff Theriault

Operational Manager – Emergency and Trauma Services, Windsor Regional Hospital

Karen Waddell

Executive Director, House of Sophrosyne

Committee Resources (WECHU Staff):

A list of committee resources (WECHU Staff), with their respective title
Name Title
Ramsey D’Souza Manager, Epidemiology & Evaluation
Eric Nadalin Manager, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention
Saamir Pasha Epidemiologist
Gillian Stager Health Promotion Specialist

Elspeth Troy

Executive Assistant/Committee Secretary

If you have any questions about the Opioid and Overdose Prevention Strategy for Windsor-Essex County, please contact Gillian Stager at 519-258-2146 ext. 3213 or

Appendix A: Project Charter: Windsor-Essex Community Opioid Strategy

Download Project Charter (MS Word)

If you require this document in an alternate format, please contact the Health Unit.

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