Minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission

A dedicated emergency commission to help Alberta respond to the opioid crisis.

This engagement has been archived
Status: Completed
Ministry responsible: Health
Completed: 2017


The Alberta government is working closely with many groups to respond to the opioid crisis, including:

  • health experts
  • community groups
  • parent advocates
  • people who have used or continue to use opioids or drugs
  • law enforcement
  • the medical community
  • other Alberta government ministries

The Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission was created in May 2017 under the Opioid Emergency Response Regulation in the Public Health Act.

The commission oversaw and implemented urgent coordinated actions on the opioid crisis, focused on 6 strategic areas:

  • harm-reduction initiatives
  • treatment
  • prevention
  • enforcement and supply control
  • collaboration
  • surveillance and analytics

Commission members

The commission was co-chaired by Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Elaine Hyshka and included representation from a diverse group affected by the opioid crisis, including law enforcement, Indigenous communities, harm-reduction program experts and parent advocates.

  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta (co-chair)
  • Elaine Hyshka, assistant professor, University of Alberta’s School of Public Health (co-chair)
  • Karen Turner, president, Alberta Addicts Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly (AAWEAR)
  • Marliss Taylor, program manager, Streetworks, Edmonton’s needle-distribution program
  • Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, physician on Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe)
  • Petra Schulz, parent advocate with Moms Stop the Harm
  • Atiya Ashna, diversity and community collaboration specialist
  • Staff Sgt. Jason Walker, Calgary Police Service
  • Dr. Nicholas Etches, Calgary clinician with expertise in opioid addiction and treatment
  • Dr. Karen Mazurek, deputy registrar, College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • John Cabral, Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Services Delivery Division, Alberta Health
  • Bill Sweeney, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Security Division, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
  • Kathryn Todd, vice president, Research, Innovation and Analytics, as well as executive lead for Seniors, Addiction and Mental Health with Alberta Health Services
  • Peter MacKinnon, senior provincial director, Population, Public and Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
  • Bill Given, mayor of Grande Prairie
  • Dr. Nathaniel Day, medical lead of Alberta Health Services' Rural Opioid Dependency Program in central Alberta

Commission reports

Commission records of discussion

Commission recommendations

Next steps

The Minister's Opioid Emergency Response Commission's mandate was completed in 2018. Work on a mental health and addictions strategy is being continued by the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council.