More work needed to provide equitable access to coordinated and culturally safe addictions services across the territory
2022 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly—Addictions Prevention and Recovery Services in the Northwest TerritoriesMore work needed to provide equitable access to coordinated and culturally safe addictions services across the territory
Yellowknife, 31 May 2022—A report from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada tabled today in the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly concludes that despite commitments to providing equitable access to coordinated and culturally safe addictions prevention and recovery services across the territory, the Department of Health and Social Services and the 3 health and social services authorities did not do enough to meet the needs of Northwest Territories residents.
“Overall, this audit demonstrates a need for improvement in the addictions prevention and recovery services available to Northwest Territories residents”, said Audit Principal Jo Ann Schwartz. “Addictions services are important in the Northwest Territories because addictions can have a far‑reaching impact on the lives and well‑being of individuals, families, and the broader community.”
The audit found that neither the Department nor the 3 health and social services authorities had determined how, in practice, they would fulfill their commitment to provide equitable access to addictions services across the territory. Currently, services vary over time and by location, and it’s unclear whether that is the result of the design of the system or of deficiencies in the system.
We also found that not enough was done to ensure that addictions services for Indigenous residents were culturally safe. Given the legacy of colonization, having culturally safe services is critical to facilitating equitable access to services for Indigenous residents.
Furthermore, gaps remained in the coordination of addictions services even though it has been 20 years since the Department committed to better coordinate the health and social services system to improve access to services. This is important because if not well coordinated, the system will not be able to help individuals move through it.
Lastly, the Department and the 3 health and social services authorities did not do enough to know whether their addictions services were effective in helping residents achieve their desired outcomes.
“Although we found that the department and the 3 health authorities had taken steps to improve addictions services, they need to do more to provide residents with accessible, coordinated, and culturally safe addictions services”, said Ms. Schwartz.
The report Addictions Prevention and Recovery Services in the Northwest Territories is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.
- 30 -
Please visit our Media Room for more information.