The Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA) project

Webinar recording

On January 10, 2017, EENet presented a webinar on the Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA) project.

This webinar provided an overview of:

  • The TOSCA project;
  • The Paula Goering Award;
  • Other integrated KT initiatives

Watch the webinar recording here.

The Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA) project received the 2016 Paula Goering Collaborative Research and Knowledge Translation Award.

This bi-annual award is sponsored by University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, and CAMH’s Provincial Systems Support Program.

The review committee was impressed with the quality of the applications and the creative approaches demonstrated for engaging diverse stakeholders in knowledge production, dissemination and movement into practice.

About the webinar

The webinar includes welcoming remarks from:

  • Dr. Janet Durbin, Scientist and Paula Goering award organizer
  • Dr. Benoit Mulsant, Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
  • Nandini Saxena, Manager, Knowledge Exchange, Provincial System Support Program, CAMH
  • Dr. Yona Lunsky, clinician scientist, CAMH, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, U of T, and former recipient, Goering IKT award (2014)

There are also presentations from other integration KT projects in Ontario:

  • Healthy mothers, healthy families: Processes underlying effective integrated addictions treatment (K. Milligan, Ryerson University)
  • Creating an evidence-informed resource for offering peer support programs to family caregivers of medically complex children. (C. Provvidenza, Evidence to Care and Concussion Centre, Bloorview Research Institute)
  • A Realist Evaluation of Family Navigation in Youth Mental Health and Addictions  (N. Reid, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto)
  • Learning about housing needs (Positive Places, Healthy Spaces) for persons living with HIV (S. Rourke, Ontario HIV Treatment Network)


TOSCA is led by Ahmed Bayoumi, St. Michael's Hospital, Carol Strike, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Shaun Hopkins and Susan Shepherd from Toronto Public Health. TOSCA is an excellent example of how researchers, service providers, community members and decision makers can create the information necessary to drive public decision making.

TOSCA studied the feasibility of opening supervised injection services (SIS) in Toronto and Ottawa. A SIS is a place where people can inject illegal drugs under the supervision of trained staff and without fearing arrest. In 2012 and based on scientific findings, the team reported that it is feasible to open three SIS in Toronto.

Team members delivered TOSCA recommendations directly to decision makers, opinion leaders, stakeholders, community members and scientific audiences at more than 30 presentations. They hosted a media release of the TOSCA report, were interviewed for television (CBC, Global, CTV, CNN) and radio programs, and made presentations to the Toronto Board of Health to support Dr. McKeown, Medical Officer of Health.

In 2013, the Toronto Board of Health approved a recommendation from Dr. McKeown, to support implementation of SIS in Toronto. In March 2016, the Board further supported a recommendation from Dr. McKeown to start the process of applying for the permissions necessary to establish SIS within three existing health services in Toronto. These requests were based on TOSCA evidence and recommendations.

TOSCA findings are used by the three proposed SIS locations to support their applications for governmental approval to legally operate. The team’s experience shows that evidence, extensive presentation of findings, and strong local champions can move evidence into action.