Consumption and Treatment Services Site – Application Status
On April 1, 2019 the Board of Health of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) passed a resolution in support of public health-led assessment of the feasibility of a Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) site in the City of Windsor. In September of the same year, following the release of the Supervised Injection Services Community Consultations Report, the Board of Health subsequently resolved in support of the submission of an application for the creation of a site in the City of Windsor. This application to the provincial Ministry of Health would be accompanied by a corresponding submission to the Federal Government for an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, an additional necessary component for the legal operation of a CTS site. In addition, the September resolution supported the completion of a comprehensive community consultation to determine a suitable and accessible location for a CTS site in the City of Windsor
In order to facilitate this process, a CTS Stakeholder Advisory Committee was created including membership from the following agencies representing the multiple sectors with vested interest in the creation of a CTS:
- The City of Windsor
- The AIDS Committee of Windsor (Pozitive Pathways Community Services)
- Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre
- Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare
- Canadian Mental Health Agency – Windsor-Essex County
- Windsor Police Services
- Windsor Downtown Mission
The WECHU also hired a Substance Use Coordinator to lead the site selection process and completion of the application. The coordinator role was initially responsible for facilitating the decision-making process amongst the Stakeholder Advisory Committee ultimately establishing the criteria and requirements for an eligible site. These requirements acomplement the mandatory criteria set out in the federal and provincial application documents and are outlined below:
- Site must be 200m from a sensitive land use (e.g. parks, daycare centers, and schools) as well as 600m from other CTS sites OR If located within 200m of a sensitive land use, application must include plans on how to address community concerns
- Site must be easily accessible by public transit
- Site must be within walking distance to areas known to be frequented by people who use drugs
- Space should be greater than 590ft2 (for six consumption booths) or 385ft2 (for three booths)
Using these criteria, and in consultation with WECHU legal representation and procurement procedures, the WECHU issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) through the MERX Online Public Tenders solicitation database. With an expiry period of one week, the initial RFEOI did not result in any responses. A second, more widely promoted RFEOI was issued and received media coverage from all local major media outlets. Per the health unit’s standard procurement process the WECHU hosted an information Session with two interested parties to answer questions and provide further information on the site criteria and selection process. Ultimately, however this tender also expired without any submissions.
With the RFEOI process not yielding any potential locations, the WECHU is once again consulting with the CTS Stakeholder Committee and working through the Substance Use Coordinator to determine if there is mutual interest in a shared space among partners. In addition, the WECHU will be reviewing eligible properties and hiring a Real Estate representative in order to guide an equitable and transparent strategy for proactively contacting property owners and managers who appear to meet the set criteria.
Prior to community consultations, environmental audits will be completed by Windsor Police Services in order to determine the safety of the area and guide any mitigating interventions which can improve the safety of the areas surrounding the site and discourage criminal activity.
Community consultations may include open Town Hall Meetings to all residents, as well as targetted meetings in the neighbourhoods in which the sites reside, and online surveys for residents who are unable to attend in-person meetings. Following the consultation process, any decisions regarding the site will require both Board of Health approval and the approval of the Municipality prior to the submission of the final CTS application.