Community Opioid/Overdose Capacity Building (COM-CAP) Tool

Insert intro about tool itself

COM-CAP is a four-year project funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addiction Program and began in 2019. The goal of COM-CAP is to support community-led responses to opioid/overdose-related harms in communities across Ontario. This page provides information and resources related to the project and community opioid/overdose response.

Community Opioid/Overdose Capacity Building Project

COM-CAP is a four-year project funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addiction Program and began in 2019. The goal of COM-CAP is to support community-led responses to opioid/overdose-related harms in communities across Ontario. This page provides information and resources related to the project and community opioid/overdose response.

COM-CAP focusses on providing support to key stakeholders in communities who are implementing local initiatives to address opioid/overdose harms. The supports focus on strengthening the knowledge, skills, and capacity of the key stakeholders involved.
The main aims of COM-CAP are:

  • Provide supports to strengthen knowledge, skills, and capacity for local opioid/overdose response planning and implementation;
  • Work closely with networks and selected community initiatives across Ontario to provide and evaluate the impact of support activities; and
  • Engage and share information with other communities and organizations responding to overdose-related harms.

The COM-CAP team works with community and collaborative initiatives addressing opioid/overdose harms and provides supports based on their needs. These include:

  • Knowledge exchange opportunities
  • Training and skill development on prioritized topics
  • Resources and tools

The evaluation of our model will help with understanding the role and effectiveness of centralized supports for local communities make change in the area of opioid/overdose harms.

Project Structure & Areas of Work

The COM-CAP project is led by Public Health Ontario (PHO) in partnership with local, provincial, and national groups. It aims to understand, plan, implement, & evaluate central supports for locally-driven overdose and opioid response planning in Ontario.


The COM-CAP project’s areas of work were identified through close collaboration with multiple partners and stakeholders, and fall into five areas.

  • Stigma and equity
  • Partnership, engagement and collaboration
  • Implementation and Operational factors
  • Data and information
  • Evidence and practice

Core Team

Public Health Ontario

  • Pamela Leece, Public Health Physician and COM-CAP Lead
  • Caroline Bennett Abuayyash, Knowledge Exchange Specialist
  • Triti Khorasheh, Research Coordinator

OCAD University- Health Design Lab

  • Kate Sellen, Director, Health Design Studio
  • Maryam Mallakin, Design Student

University of Toronto- Strategy Design and Evaluation Initiative

  • Robert Schwartz, Lead
  • Emily Taylor, Evaluation Coordinator

Advisory Committee

Our Advisory Committee provides community-focused expertise and direction on how to centre the needs and experiences of impacted communities. Membership includes CAMH, Drug Users Advocacy League, Eastern Health Newfoundland and Labrador, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, John Howard Society of Toronto, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Ontario Network of People who Use Drugs, Peel Network of People who Use Drugs, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, St. Stephen’s Community House, and Toronto Public Health.

Scientific Team

Our Scientific Team provides ongoing consultations and expertise from community and academic partners. Membership includes Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, CAMH, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Mental Health Association- Grey Bruce, City of Thunder Bay, Dalla Lana School of Public Health (University of Toronto), OCAD University, Ontario Harm Reduction Network, The Royal (Ottawa), University of Victoria, and Women’s College Hospital.

The COM-CAP project is  supporting three local initiatives (“Community Initiatives”) focused on reducing opioid/overdose harms, as well as evaluating how these supports impact local efforts. These initiatives were identified through an open call for submissions and the final decision on initiatives was made by a Selection Committee with membership from people who use drugs, community organizations, and service providers. Members were also invited with the goal of achieving intersectional representation that included Indigeneity, racialization, and gender.

The COM-CAP project is also providing support to two provincial networks (“Collaborative Initiatives”) with key partners in community overdose response on coordination, information sharing, and capacity strengthening.

Meet the Community Initiatives:

Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention
Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (BlackCAP) is an organization delivering direct support services to Toronto’s African, Caribbean and Black communities living with or affected by HIV or AIDS. 

BlackCAP in partnership with the Rexdale Community Health Centre and the North End Harm Reduction Network, is working on the ‘Opioid Awareness and Overdose Prevention Project’. This initiative provides direct support, outreach and education, around harm reduction within the Rexdale Community, which has a large African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) population. The objective is to increase awareness and visibility of harm reduction support and education by establishing relationships with residents and service providers through outreach, workshops, and trainings.

To learn more about BlackCAP, visit

Chatham-Kent Public Health
Chatham-Kent Public Health (CKPH) is a public health unit that provides programs and services that protect and promote the health and well-being of people living in the municipality of Chatham-Kent.

CKPH is partnering with United Way and ROCK Missions on the ‘Peer-to-Peer Project’, which aims to develop, expand, and formalize peer-led outreach interventions. This work focuses on marginalized neighbourhoods in Chatham-Kent and uses a collaborative, community-driven, trauma and violence informed care approach. The project works to take big ideas developed by and for people with living/lived experience (PWLE) of substance use, and provide organizational support for applying timely root-cause solutions. The objectives of peer-led outreach are to locate, engage, and build trusting relationships with individuals to provide basic services, and support and advocate for sustained engagement in services, and build individual strengths over time.

To learn more about Chatham-Kent Public Health, visit

NorWest Community Health Centres
NorWest Community Health Centres (NorWest CHC) is a community health centre that provides primary care, prevention, and health promotion to people living in Thunder Bay and District.

NorWest CHC is implementing an initiative in partnership with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Elevate NWO, Superior North Emergency Medical Service (EMS), and Thunder Bay District Health Unit. ‘Partnerships between Peers and Emergency Medical Service’ project is piloting a partnership between peers and emergency medical services (EMS) to identify and engage with people who may be at risk for using or overdosing alone in Thunder Bay. It aims to connect people at risk of using or overdosing alone with peers, harm reduction supplies and information about community supports and resources. Following the evaluation of specific engagement strategies, lessons will be used to guide and support organizational practices. Results will also strengthen EMS capacity to provide an effective and compassionate response to individuals experiencing an overdose.

To learn more about NorWest Community Health Centres, visit

Meet the Collaborative Initiatives:                

Municipal Drug Strategy Coordinators Network of Ontario
The Municipal Drug Strategy Coordinators Network of Ontario (MDSCNO) is a provincial network that formed in 2009 and includes municipal drug strategy representatives from across Ontario. MDSCNO members aim to stay connected, work together, and share best practices toward promoting health and reducing substance-related harms for individuals, families and communities. 

Ontario Network of People who Use Drugs
Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs (ONPUD) is a newly forming provincial association led by founding members with diverse lived/living experience of drug use. Its mission is to inform and shape policies, programs and services related to drug use, with a vision of an Ontario where all PWUD can thrive. Its values include empowerment and leadership of PWUD, inclusion and opportunity, mutual respect, social justice, and transparency and accountability.


Loading app, please wait...

Updated 21 Jan 2022