We are transforming Alberta’s health system to the Alberta Recovery Model, which adopts a recovery-oriented approach for addiction and mental health.

A recovery-oriented system of care is a coordinated network of personalized, community-based services for people at risk of or experiencing addiction and mental health challenges. It provides access to a full continuum of services and supports, from prevention and intervention to treatment and recovery.

The Alberta Recovery Model is informed by recommendations from the Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Council. Their final report, Toward an Alberta model of wellness provides a framework to help achieve our vision of building a system where every Albertan has the opportunity to pursue recovery and live a healthy and productive life.

Service and supports

The following services and supports can help if you or someone you know experiences challenges with addiction or mental health recovery:


For Albertans experiencing addiction and mental health challenges to be effectively supported in their pursuit of recovery through integrated, easily accessible, and community-based recovery-oriented systems of care.

A new approach to care

The Alberta Recovery Model is based on the belief that recovery is possible, and everyone should be supported and face as few barriers as possible in their pursuit of recovery.

In the past, Alberta’s approach to addiction and mental health focused on acute interventions designed to manage the negative health effects of these chronic issues. While acute interventions are important and have saved lives, it has come at the expense of supporting the long-term wellness and recovery of individuals, families and communities.

Alberta’s government has embarked on a process of transformative change to dramatically shift the way mental health and addiction is managed. Transitioning towards a recovery-oriented system of care will improve outcomes for all Albertans.

Recovery defined

Recovery in mental health is a process of achieving and maintaining remission from a mental health problem or illness and living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life, even when symptoms are present.

Recovery in addiction is a process of sustained action toward physical, social and spiritual healing and wellness while consistently pursuing a substance-free life.

Recovery capital

Developing recovery capital is an important part of the Alberta Recovery Model. Recovery capital refers to the internal and external resources a person can draw on to begin and maintain their pursuit of recovery. It includes:

Physical and mental health

Family, social and leisure activities

Safe housing and healthy environments

Peer-based support

Employment and resolution of legal issues

Vocational skills and educational development

Community integration and cultural support

Discovering or rediscovering meaning and purpose in life

Recommendations and supporting actions

We have accepted all recommendations in the Mental Health and Advisory Council's final report, Toward an Alberta model of wellness report and are taking steps to implement them.

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  • Recommendation 1. Establish a shared vision

    A shared vision and collective commitment across individuals, families, municipalities, workplaces, cross-sectoral government partners and the philanthropic and private sectors can support system transformation and enable Albertans to achieve and maintain recovery.

  • Actions we're taking

    In June 2021, the Government of Alberta initiated an Alberta Recovery Council to work toward a shared vision of recovery-oriented care.

    This council includes senior decision makers from:

    • Mental Health and Addiction
    • Alberta Health Services
    • Public Safety and Emergency Services
    • Seniors, Community and Social Services
    • Education
    • Children’s Services
    • Indigenous Relations

    The role of the council is to provide support, advice and recommend action to government and support the implementation of a recovery-oriented system of care across relevant ministries.

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  • Recommendation 2. Improve foundational supports

    A strong provincial foundation for recovery-oriented systems of care includes enabling policy, consistent key processes, service integration supports and information technology.

  • Actions we're taking

    Alberta’s government has made significant progress in improving foundational supports, including:

    • Adding 10,000 new publicly funded addiction treatment spaces across the province.
    • Eliminating daily user fees for publicly funded addiction treatment spaces so that every Albertan can access them for free.
    • Providing treatment on demand through the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program
    • Supporting the province-wide implementation of HealthIM to Alberta, a digital tool to support police when responding to mental health emergencies.
    • Expanding drug treatment courts, which help break the cycle of addiction-motivated crime by giving non-violent offenders access to judicially supervised treatment and recovery.
    • Implemented licensing and quality standards for supervised consumption services to ensure clients are better connected to the health-care system and improve community safety.
    • Launching the Alberta Substance Use Surveillance System, a comprehensive data reporting dashboard on substance use in the province.
    • Launching the Digital Overdose Response System, a mobile app that helps prevent fatal drug overdose among people using substances alone.
    • Establishing Community Protection and Opioid Stewardship Standards to protect communities from high-risk opioidswhile supporting Albertans with severe opioid addiction.
    • Introducing standards for psychedelic-assisted therapy to ensure proper safeguards and medical oversight.
    • Supporting the implementation of the My Recovery Plan software at publicly funded addiction treatment facilities to improve data and outcomes reporting.
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  • Recommendation 3. Strengthen recovery-oriented systems of care

    Communities can create effective solutions tailored to the local context through involving a broad range of partners as co-creators. Investment in building capacity in communities will speed up development of new sustainable, practical and evidence informed innovations.

  • Actions we're taking

    Alberta’s government continues to strengthen recovery-oriented systems of care across the province by:

    • Building 11 recovery communities across Alberta to provide holistic long-term residential addiction treatment to Albertans experiencing addiction.
    • Partnering with First Nations to build recovery communities on Blood Tribe, Enoch, Tsuut’ina and Siksika lands.
    • Increasing mental health supports for youth with complex needs in classrooms and communities.
    • Expanding school-based mental health programs that focus on prevention and early intervention.
    • Expanding access to life-saving opioid agonist treatment medications, including the Sublocade injection.
    • Partnering with police services to offer access to addiction treatment through the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program upon an individual’s arrest.
    • Working with Edmonton and Calgary’s police services to increase the number of Police and Crisis Response Teams (PACT).
    • Integrating health and police services and expanding therapeutic living units to provincial correctional facilities.
    • Supporting youth mental health hubs to provide young Albertans with a one-stop shop for services that improve their mental health and overall wellness.
    • Strengthening addiction treatment for youth in care through the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program.
    • Expanding access to affordable counselling options across the province, including virtual and in-person mental health supports.
    • Supporting the recovery coaches program, which trains people in long-term recovery to help other Albertans experiencing addiction get well.

Next steps

We will continue to build a recovery-oriented system of addiction and mental health care and implement the recommendations of the Alberta Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council.

Going forward we will work with partners across multiple sectors to improve awareness and understanding of recovery-oriented systems of care and take action to support the well-being of Albertans experiencing addiction and mental health challenges.

How we got here

The Alberta Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council was appointed in November 2019 to provide recommendations to improve access to recovery-oriented care and better support Albertans on their path to recovery.

Council members included Albertans with personal experience dealing with addictions as well as those with experience in emergency and crisis services, mental health and addiction recovery services, primary and home care settings, Indigenous health, justice, law enforcement and civil society.

The Council’s recommendations were developed using their extensive expertise and personal experience dealing with addictions, research carried out on the Council’s behalf and Council members’ engagement with stakeholders.