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Friends,

My name is Crystal Smalldon and I am the Executive Director of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF). You may have never heard of us, and that may be one of the problems contributing to the crisis of addiction in our country lately.

I couldn’t stay silent anymore.

The addictions industry is in a state of crisis, and our children are dying because of it.

Did you know that in Canada, there are ZERO regulations for addictions counsellors that we are trusting our children and families to? Anyone can be an addiction counsellor in Ontario, there is no training, no experience, no oversight and no rules to follow. To make matters even more dire, there are zero regulations surrounding the private rehab facilities we are sending our children to. Anyone can open a rehab facility, anyone can be an addiction counsellor, and it is having dire consequences.

Once someone determines that they are ready to get help, making them wait has negative consequences. Forcing them into treatment with people who are not properly trained to handle this issue is deadly. I have been spending the last few years screaming at the top of my lungs that something has to change, but unfortunately our provincial governments have not actioned our requests thus far.

There MUST be a change to this issue and it must happen now.

The Government needs to immediately implement regulation in this industry. Regulation will help stabilize rates so that parents are not having to pay out of pocket the average $25 000 per month for private rehab given by unregulated counsellors. They need to immediately ensure the safety of the public by ensuring that trained staff are handling this incredibly complex human issue that is currently not considered an issue by Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins who said to us and I quote “I recognize that there are a number of private addiction treatment facilities in the province, and that they might employ unregulated staff, As these facilities are not regulated or funded by my ministry, they operate beyond the ministry's jurisdiction.”

If the Minister of Health himself acknowledges that this crisis is happening, but says that addictions are outside of his jurisdiction because he does not regulate them, how will we ever get on top of this crisis?

The Ministry must immediately take steps to regulate this industry, so that those suffering can get the help they need by educated, trained, licensed and safe addiction counsellors and facilities.

Putting our children’s lives in the hands of anything less is murder.

My warmest regards,

Crystal Smalldon, RSSW

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Crystal Smalldon
Executive Director

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