Report tells Health Canada to rethink funding in opioid fight

OTTAWA — How governments fund the country’s fight against the opioid crisis might explain “a lack of progress” on the issue, say newly disclosed documents on an alternative Health Canada is considering.

The paper obtained by The Canadian Press suggests the federal government should focus funding where service providers can prove they are helping people with opioid use disorder.

This kind of outcomes-based funding is something Health Canada has reviewed for months as part of a wider federal effort to find new ways to finance and test social services in a way that limits risk to government coffers.

How that works is a service provider, usually a non-profit, partners with a private financier to front the money for a project — and the government pays out if it succeeds.

The paper suggests governments focus on projects for high-risk populations, with clearly definable goals, or “evidence to suggest that they can achieve the target outcomes.”

Health Canada says it is reviewing the report and hasn’t set timelines for any decisions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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