News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 25, 2020

Province Announces Expansion of Residential Addictions Treatment Program for Women

– – –
Program Adds New Spaces at Reopened Addictions Foundation of Manitoba Campus in Winnipeg: Friesen

As part of the province’s ongoing commitment to enhance mental health and addiction services and programs, new women’s residential treatment spaces will be added to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s (AFM) Portage Avenue campus in Winnipeg when it reopens next month, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
“Our government has contributed more than $40 million in the past 14 months alone to new initiatives that will help Manitobans living with mental health and addictions issues,” said Friesen. “The expansion of AFM’s 28-day treatment program to 31 beds will allow more women living with addiction to get the help they need to recover and lead meaningful, productive lives.”
An annual investment of nearly $600,000 will see AFM expand its 28-day women’s residential treatment program from 24 to 31 beds, with plans to increase to 36 beds once all physical distancing measures intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are lifted. The AFM’s 28-day residential treatment program provides a setting for women to focus on their recovery from dependence on alcohol or drugs.
Demand for mental health and addictions services for women has greatly increased over the last few years, with AFM noting an increase in methamphetamine use among females. This increased demand has resulted in a wait-list of up to six months for facility-based addictions treatment. It is estimated the new beds may reduce the wait-list for treatment by nearly 26 per cent, allowing an additional 156 women per year to participate in the program, the minister said.
The investment fulfils a VIRGO report recommendation to address the disparity of gender-related issues pertaining to substance use and mental health issues, as well as other recommendations relating to social and cultural safety, families and trauma.
“Females often experience particular challenges and harms related to their substance use including trauma, domestic abuse, human trafficking and exploitation. Investing in evidence-based trauma-informed, women-specific care for females helps to improve outcomes for women as well as their children and families,” said Dr. Ginette Poulin, medical director, AFM. “Increasing our capacity to better serve Manitoba women is paramount and aligns with the evidence as well as the direction of the VIRGO report.” 
The new beds, first announced in June 2019, coincide with the program’s return to its Portage Avenue campus in Winnipeg. The program was forced to relocate to Teulon in July 2019 after a high-pressure water pipe burst; causing severe damage to the basement at the AFM building at 1031 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg that then progressed through an underground tunnel and flooded the basement of the AFM’s other building at 1041 Portage Ave.
Major repairs, such as to the boiler, electrical, elevator and security alarm, have been completed and the buildings are anticipated to reopen in the next month. Water-damaged client files were sent to a secure location and professionally restored.
The cost of the repairs and the associated fees to relocate displaced services is about $6 million, one-third of which has already been reimbursed via insurance proceeds, the minister noted.
For more information on the VIRGO report and its recommendations, visit:
- 30 -