Government of Canada to invest in cannabis education and awareness

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 Education News
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New funds to bring total investment in public education, awareness and surveillance to $46M


Oct. 31, 2017 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis to keep it out of the hands of Canadian youth and the profits from criminals
and organized crime. With this in mind, the Government intends to make significant investments in public education to inform Canadians, particularly youth and young adults, about the health and safety risks of cannabis.

Today the Government announced a new investment of $36.4M over the next five years for a cannabis education and awareness campaign. The funding will be used to inform Canadians, including youth and other priority populations such as Indigenous peoples, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and Canadians with a history of mental illness, of the health and safety risks of cannabis use and drug-impaired driving.

This new investment is in addition to the initial $9.6M over five years for a comprehensive public education and awareness campaign and surveillance activities announced in Budget 2017.

Public education and awareness efforts will include factual and evidence-based information on the health and safety risks of cannabis use and drug-impaired driving. The campaign will build on ongoing social media efforts, advertising and interactive events to engage youth on the facts. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Government will expand its public education campaign to include information on the new laws, so Canadians will know what to expect in July 2018.


"We are tackling the issue of cannabis use with long-term investments in our education and awareness efforts. We want to make sure all Canadians, particularly our young adults and youth, understand the health and safety risks of cannabis. These efforts also aim to equip parents and teachers with tools to have meaningful discussions with young Canadians about the risks of cannabis use."The Honourable Ginette Petitpas TaylorMinister of Health

"Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada, and drug-impaired driving has been increasing every year since 2009. Public education and awareness will help Canadians, especially youth and their parents, understand the potentially deadly risks of driving while impaired by cannabis or other drugs."The Honourable Ralph GoodaleMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"In order to make informed choices, Canadians need the real facts about the health and safety risks of cannabis use. Like other substances, such as tobacco and alcohol, there are real potential harms to using them. We need to invest in public education and awareness about the potential consequences for the health and safety of Canadians who choose to use cannabis."The Honourable Jody Wilson-RaybouldMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Our Government wants Canadians to have clear, factual information so that they understand how using cannabis could affect them. Our investment today is another step in informing Canadians, especially youth and young adults, about the real effects of cannabis."Bill BlairParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

"Cannabis use carries health risks, especially for youth. A public health approach will ensure that Canadians have access to the facts, to help them understand the health impacts around cannabis use and to encourage them to make the most informed decisions possible. This evidence-based public education campaign will help to reduce the negative health and social outcomes related to cannabis use."Dr. Theresa TamChief Public Health Officer of Canada

Quick Facts

  • Today's announcement includes $22.5M over the first two years and $13.9M for the subsequent three years to inform Canadians of the health and safety risks of cannabis use and drug-impaired driving. These funds will support an ongoing campaign to continue raising awareness about the health and safety risks of cannabis use, particularly for youth and other priority populations such as Indigenous peoples, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and Canadians with a history of mental illness.
  • Public Safety Canada will launch a public education and awareness campaign on the dangers of drug-impaired driving in the fall.
  • In March 2017, Health Canada began an ongoing digital campaign targeting parents and encouraging them to talk to their children about cannabis. The next phase of the public education campaign focusing on health risks will target youth 13-17 years old, and young adults 18-24 years old, and will start in January 2018. Subject to Parliamentary approval of the proposed Cannabis Act, the campaign would expand to include information about the changing laws and will target the broader Canadian public.
  • In partnership with Drug Free Kids Canada, Health Canada supported the creation of the Cannabis Talk Kit to give parents a tool to help them talk to their teens about cannabis. To date, more than 114,000 copies of this valuable resource have been distributed. The Talk Kit is available for download or can be ordered in hard copy online.
  • Beginning in 2018, Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) is dedicating $3M annually for cannabis public education and awareness initiatives. This funding would be open to organizations that meet the criteria for SUAP funding.
  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research have issued a Catalyst Grant focusing on the health and social impacts of cannabis legalization and regulation in Canada. This grant of $1M will, in part, support research to understand how specific groups like youth, Indigenous peoples or persons living with mental health issues or problematic substance use, may be affected by cannabis legalization and regulation and how to maximize benefits and minimize harm to those groups through public education and other strategies.
  • In addition to today's announcement, the Government also announced that it will be hosting a Partnership Symposium on Cannabis Public Health Education and Awareness on November 10, 2017, to bring together national stakeholders and partners to identify priority actions and opportunities for partnership in raising awareness and educating the public about the risks of cannabis use.

Additional InformationCannabis Talk Kit from Drug Free Kids CanadaHealth Effects of CannabisDriving While Impaired by a DrugInfographic: Marijuana – We'd Like You to Know Infographic: Status of Cannabis Laws in Canada Substance Use and Addictions ProgramCIHR Catalyst Grant


SOURCE Health Canada

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