Proposed Integration of Addiction Counselling Services

March 5th, 2018

House of Friendship and St. Mary’s General Hospital are pleased to announce a proposed plan to voluntarily integrate addiction counselling services. This proposal will be considered by the Waterloo-Wellington Local Integration Health Network (WWLHIN) at its regular board meeting on March 28, 2018.

This voluntary integration will see addiction counselling services currently provided by St. Mary’s Counselling Services transferred to House of Friendship, a local not-for-profit leader in providing addiction services throughout the Region of Waterloo.

This integration of services (from counselling through to treatment) with one provider provides an opportunity to improve service delivery by:

  • Ensuring that existing services are maintained while increasing the ability to meet the more complex and varied needs of our community;
  • Increasing access to addiction counselling services for men, women and their families, within the Region of Waterloo, including Cambridge;
  • Providing increased ability for service participants to transition between different services and levels of care; and
  • Minimizing the duplication of services within our community.

If approved by the WWLHIN board, as of June 1, 2018, House of Friendship will provide these addiction counselling services to men, women and their families within Waterloo Region who suffer from problematic substance use, including alcohol and drugs, as well as problem gambling.

This proposed plan has been developed through extensive consultation with the WWLHIN and builds on previous engagement with community stakeholders. Collectively, House of Friendship and St. Mary’s General Hospital have developed a plan to ensure a smooth transition.

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to build on the great work of the counselling staff of St. Mary’s General Hospital,” said Pam McIntosh, Addiction Services Director, at House of Friendship. “With this new model of service delivery, patients will enjoy smoother transitions between different levels of care.”

“St. Mary’s Counselling Service has a long history of serving program participants with compassion, dignity and respect,” said Sherri Ferguson, Vice President, Quality, People & Performance at St. Mary’s. “We are grateful to our dedicated staff for their years of devotion. We are confident that our participants will receive the same high quality and caring service with House of Friendship, and will benefit from additional services offered by the House of Friendship team, should our plan be supported by the WWLHIN.”

This proposal aligns with the ongoing mission of the WWLHIN, to lead a high-quality, integrated health system for Waterloo-Wellington residents. Integrated health systems lead to better health outcomes and better patient experiences, with greater continuity of care.

House of Friendship and St. Mary’s General Hospital are committed to working closely together to ensure a smooth transition, so that any participant in any recovery program today will experience a minimum of disruption and inconvenience. St. Mary’s Counselling staff will communicate with all current program and service participants personally, to provide the information they need to ensure clarity throughout the transition.

About House of Friendship

Founded in 1939, House of Friendship (HOF) envisions a community where all can belong and thrive. To fulfill this vision, HOF walks with those in our Region who need food, housing, addiction treatment or vital community resources. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors, HOF serves over 42,000 people who are living on low income or with a substance addiction.

About St. Mary’s General Hospital

Founded in 1924, St. Mary’s General Hospital’s vision is to be the safest and most effective hospital in Canada, characterized by innovation, compassion and respect. St. Mary’s is the second-largest acute care hospital in Kitchener and in the St. Joseph’s Health System. Core area of focus include: Cardiac Care (Regional Cardiac Centre); Respiratory Care (Level 1 Thoracic Surgery Centre); Outpatient Surgery; General Medicine; 24/7 Emergency Care; and Community Programs.

For more information, contact:

Pam McIntosh
Addiction Services Director
House of Friendship
519-742-8327 ext. 227


Anne Kelly
Manager, Communications
St. Mary’s General Hospital
519-749-6578, ext. 1501