News Releases

News Release - Canada and Manitoba

May 15, 2019


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Province Partnering with Federal Government, Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons on Initiative: Friesen

Health Canada and the Manitoba government are partnering with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba to increase training for prescribers who can administer opiate replacement therapy, federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“The opioid crisis continues to be one of the most serious public health issues in Canada’s recent history,” said Petitpas Taylor. “Throughout this project, the Government of Canada is helping to increase access to evidence-based treatment services in Manitoba. Together, we are supporting people with opioid use disorder in living healthier lives.”

“This project will ensure there are enough trained prescribers to provide opiate replacement therapy medications, such as suboxone and methadone, to Manitobans struggling with opioid use,” said Friesen. “By increasing the availability of opiate replacement therapy across the province, this partnership will ensure more people are able to receive these services and supports closer to home.”

Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program is providing more than $2 million in funding over five years to the province towards the initiative. In turn, the province is contracting the college to provide training sessions for new prescribers, such as physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists throughout Manitoba. The college will also update its recommended practices manual for methadone treatment and develop a recommended practices manual for suboxone treatment that reflect best practices.

The college is the statutory body responsible for maintaining standards of medical practice and ensuring physicians are in compliance with continuing professional development requirements.

“Opioid addiction is a treatable condition and this is a cost-effective way to treat an individual while reducing the societal burden of the disease,” said Dr. Anna Ziomek, registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. “The training sessions the college offers focus on promoting a comprehensive, non-judgmental approach to care, challenging stigma and promoting the fact that positive outcomes are possible when individuals can access the help they need. The college is pleased to participate in this ongoing collaborative effort with the federal and provincial government to improve the health of Manitobans.”

Through this initiative, the college has already completed four opiate replacement therapy prescriber training sessions and trained 100 people. Two sessions were in Winnipeg, with the others in Dauphin and The Pas. In total, at least 400 prescribers are expected to be trained during the length of the project.

The minister noted the announcement fulfils a recommendation from the VIRGO report, which outlined a strategy to improve mental health and addictions services in Manitoba.

To view the report, visit

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