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Fresh Start is grateful to be part of a A National Commitment to Recovery from the Disease of Addiction in Canada.”
– Mr. Stacey Petersen RSW • Executive Director, FSRC



Life in Recovery from Addiction in Canada Survey Report (2017) 

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), together with the National Recovery Advisory Committee, conducted the first Canadian survey of people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs. This survey provides a wealth of information about recovery in Canada that can inform healthcare providers, decision makers and the public as they work towards building a system of care and a society that supports the principles of recovery and celebrates recovery.  

What Does this Study Mean for You? The survey findings show that recovery is achievable and leads to positive citizenship and positive life outcomes. People use different paths in their recovery journey, as shown by the variety of programs and informal supports reported by participants. However, participants also described problems accessing treatment, financial barriers with privately funded treatment services and facilities, stigma and discrimination, and other barriers to recovery. These findings help us better understand what a system of care that supports recovery ought to look like. For example, such a system would offer a wide range of coordinated treatment, as well as support services in communities. Importantly, those services would be accessible and timely, as long wait times and financial challenges were among the common barriers mentioned by people who completed the survey. The results from the Canadian LIR survey can inform healthcare providers, decision makers and the public as they work toward building an effective system of care and a society that promotes and celebrates recovery.

CCSA is developing a resource for service providers and decision makers to increase knowledge about the principles of recovery, and the types of policies and practices that can help reduce barriers and create a system of care that supports recovery. This will be a living resource that can be updated as new research or practices become available, or as additional tools are needed. Visit CCSA’s website to access this resource and others as they become available. Please contact if you are interested in sharing examples of policies, practices or tools that support recovery, or if you have suggestions for new tools or resources that can be developed.  


AdvocacyThrough this National Commitment to Recovery in Canada, we collectively declare our vision for a Canada in which:

  • Recovery is real, available, attainable and sustainable.
  • Recovery is an ongoing journey free of stigma and discrimination.
  • Individuals, families, workplaces and communities are celebrated for their perseverance and
  • commitment to Recovery.
  • Recovery-focused services and supports are based on collaboration and partnership.


  • There are many pathways in Recovery
  • Recovery involves a process of personal growth along a continuum leading to abstinence. It includes a range of services and supports that spans peer support, mutual aid, early identification and intervention, outreach and engagement, specialized treatment, relapse prevention and continuing care.
  • Recovery requires collaboration
  • Recovery-focused systems require collaboration across sectors, including peer support and mutual aid, health, social, educational, criminal justice, employment, economic, spiritual and housing sectors.
  • Recovery is a personal journey toward wellbeing
  • Recovery is an ongoing and dynamic process that is unique to the individual’s strengths, culture, gender, personal qualities and experiences.
  • Recovery extends beyond the individual
  • Recovery involves family, peers, workplaces and the community.
  • Recovery is multidimensional
  • Recovery enhances physical, social, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
  • Recovery involves everyone
  • Everyone has a role to play in overcoming the stigma of addiction and in supporting and celebrating Recovery.

Let’s celebrate Recovery!

National Summit for Addiction Recovery

The Summit was held on January 27 & 28 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario. This Summit was the first of its kind in Canada, a historic event involving fifty of Canada's leading minds on the topic of Recovery, Treatment, Research and Education.  Health Minister Rona Ambrose spoke and offered her support as well as offer her gratitude for a meeting of this kind. Participants achieved consensus on Canadas first Nation Commitment on Addiction Recovery.

Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse (CRISM) - Intervention for substance misuse is a pressing and complex health issue that requires evidence-based approaches, an understanding of the biological, psychosocial and social factors and an acknowledgement of the important impact of cultural and societal contexts in order to be truly effective. Many intervention modalities exist and are known to have excellent results, yet they have not been widely implemented.

CIHR-INMHA has developed CRISM, a national research consortium in substance misuse. This consortium will be unique for substance misuse research in Canada in that it will focus on translation and implementation and be cross-pillar in nature. CRISM is modeled after the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Clinical Trial Network.

In 2014, CIHR provided infrastructure funds to establish 4 regional CRISM Nodes, one each located in BC, the Prairies, Ontario, and Quebec/Atlantic. 

The overall objectives of the CRISM network are to:

Identify and/or develop the most appropriate clinical and community-based prevention or treatment interventions  for substance misuse;
Provide evidence to support the enhancement of prevention or treatment services regarding substance misuse to decision makers and service providers; and
Support improvement in the quality of care and quality of life for Canadians living with substance misuse.


The Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) will set strategic direction (with respect to research priorities and opportunities for collaboration across the CRISM network), resource allocation and staffing for the Prairie Node, and will provide strategic oversight of initiatives to secure complementary funding


Rally for Recovery


Recovery Day was first celebrated in the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, BC on September 30th, 2012 as a public display of the freedom from addiction. Since then, the movement has spread throughout Canada, encompassing communities large and small, from East to West. We come together in the month of September to build awareness, challenge societal stigma, and celebrate the role that recovery plays in improving the lives of millions of Canadians. Calgary came on board in 2013 and hosted the first every recovery day in Calgary at Olympic Plaza.

Recovery Day


During the month of September, Canadians in recovery from addiction join with friends and family to build awareness, challenge societal stigma, and celebrate the role that recovery plays in improving the lives of individuals, families, workplaces and communities.

We believe that recovery saves lives.

We envision a world in which recovery from addiction is a common, celebrated reality - a world where individuals will not experience shame when seeking help.

We are passionate about sharing our stories of recovery in the hope of inspiring others to join us on the rewarding yet diverse path to wholeness.

Together we will demonstrate the power and proof of recovery from addiction.

To find out how you can get involved, contact your local city committee or email

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Young Man

Your gift changes lives.

We rely on your time, talents
and contributions to help men
on their road to recovery.





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I am Santa Claus. Well, not really, but I am to my six-year-old son. For the last seven years since my time at treatment I have been able to be, do and have all the things I was afraid of.  You see I grew up in dysfunctional home where there was no magic of Christmas or no Father’s Day. I did not have a dad around and my mom was always working, so I easily learned how to escape the pain of my family and to escape who I was and where I was. Drugs and alcohol were the fastest way to freedom until they eventually became my prison.

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Starting May 28th, my goal is to cycle across Canada inspiring others to be vulnerable and ask for help; as well as join the fitness community and live a healthy lifestyle. My route from St. John's to Victoria will incorporate stops along the way at 10 or more treatment centres. I hope to share my story, help make connections to fitness, and donate $1000 to help set up fitness programs in the centres.

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We have been invited to participate in and chosen as one of the recipients of The Calgary Scotiabank Marathon on May 28, 2017. We need your support. Join and show your support to our motley crew, "The Recovery Runners", and help us raise $10,000 for addiction recovery. There are participation levels for everyone; join in the 5 km walk or run, 10 km or half marathon run as well as the kid's marathon.
Every STEP you take will help make a difference for the men and families Fresh Start serves.

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8:00 PM –
1:00 AM

Clean and Sober dance

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Family Healing Program

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Push for Change - Joe Roberts talk

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Completion Date - Family Healing Program