Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Implications of COVID-19 Webinar Series

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on public health in Canada, including substance use and access to healthcare services and supports.


CCSA’s new webinar series explores the implications of COVID-19 on public health, highlighting work in the area of substance use and COVID-19 across sectors and across the country. You can expect to hear a variety of perspectives from leading experts spanning topics from harm reduction, stigma, domestic violence, adverse childhood events and youth.

Be sure to bookmark this page for updates to our webinar schedule and to view recordings of past webinars.

Spaces for each webinar are limited so register early to secure your place.

Past Webinars

The Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health and Substance Use in Youth

Date: December 2, 2020, 1– 2 p.m. EST.  

This webinar will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mental health and substance use in young people. It will also discuss the challenges that youth continue to face during the pandemic and how youth allies, including educators, parents and counsellors, can provide support.


  • Alexa Bol, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization, Opening Minds, Mental Health Commission of Canada
  • Sabrina Jouniaux-Romano, Supervisor, Kids Help Phone

This webinar was presented in English. 

Delivering Mental Health and Addiction Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date: November 30, 2020, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many disruptions in the lives of Canadians, including disruptions in access to and delivery of mental health and addiction services. This webinar will explore how the measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have created challenges for those seeking care. It will explore the inequity that exists in access to services, and the opportunities for innovative solutions to support Canadians during a time when we are seeing a growing number reporting worsening mental health and increased substance use.


  • Dr. Peter Cornish, Honorary Research Professor, Memorial University, and Director, Counseling and Psychological Services, University of California, Berkeley
  • Dr Peter Selby, Senior Medical Consultant and Clinician Scientist, Addictions Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and Professor, Departments of Family and Community Medicine and Psychiatry, and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Kim Corace, Vice President, Innovation and Transformation, The Royal, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa, and President, Canadian Psychological Association

This webinar was presented in English. 

The Implications of COVID-19 for Substance Use and Mental Health – A Public Health Perspective

Date: September 28, 2020, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST 

In this panel discussion webinar, experts provided federal, provincial and local perspectives on the response to substance use and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. They explored the implications of the pandemic response on substance use and mental health, as well as the response measures that were taken, lessons learned and recommendations as pandemic restrictions across Canada begin to lift.


  • Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
  • Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia
  • Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health

This webinar was presented in English. 

Guiding Youth Through COVID-19: A Webinar for Youth Allies

This webinar, delivered in partnership with Alberta Health Services, explored the experiences of youth during COVID-19. Topics covered included the implications for substance use and mental health, mental health literacy, guidance for providing youth with mental health support and harm reduction messaging during the pandemic and beyond. This webinar was intended for parents, teachers, coaches, counsellors, healthcare professionals and anyone in a position to support and nurture open discussions with youth about substance use and mental health.


Anna Goodman, Research and Policy Analyst, CCSA
Andrew Baxter, Project Lead for the Alberta Mental Health Literacy Project, Alberta Health Services

This webinar was presented in English. A version with French subtitles will be available soon.

Download the transcript

Download the French translation 

COVID-19 and Alcohol

How much are people drinking while staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are Canadians drinking more alcohol than usual and, if so, are they doing it more often? This webinar explored alcohol use during the pandemic, drawing on the results of a survey and polls commissioned by CCSA in spring 2020. The presentation highlighted resources to assist in reducing risks related to alcohol use during COVID-19.


  • Dr. Catherine Paradis, Senior Research and Policy Analyst, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
  • Dr. Bryce Barker, Knowledge Broker, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

This webinar was presented in English and French. The French version is available on the French web page.

Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine and Withdrawal Options

Addiction... haunted by stigma, harms and trauma. This webinar explored underlying issues with substance use disorders and helped attendees to understand their complexity and treatment from an evidence-based lens. It also focused on the impacts of COVID-19, withdrawal considerations and advancements in delivery of care during these uncertain times, including the Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine model.

Speaker: Dr. Ginette Poulin, Medical Director, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba

This webinar was presented in English. A version with French subtitles will be available soon.

The Effects of COVID-19 on the Illegal Drug Supply

This webinar explored how regulations put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are inadvertently contributing to an increasingly toxic illegal drug supply and how this shift has both increased health harms and created policy opportunities. Presentations highlighted different perspectives, including systems-level epidemiology data, findings from a local drug checking program and experiences shared by people who use drugs.


  • Dr. Jane Buxton, Physician Epidemiologist and Harm Reduction Lead, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Karen McDonald, Operations Manager, Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation
  • Matthew Bonn, Safe Supply and Drug Policy Consultant, Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs

This webinar was presented in English. A version with French subtitles will be available soon.

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