Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


RNAO celebrates approval of supervised injection services by launching best practice guideline


TORONTO, July 14, 2016 – Supervised injection services (SIS) will soon be saving lives in Ontario, and the province's nurses are developing recommendations to guide this critical harm reduction initiative.

Toronto city council approved a board of health proposal today to provide SIS at three locations across the city – South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Toronto Public Health (The Works), and Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre. This follows an Ottawa board of health vote in June which approved a proposal to encourage SIS to open in their city. These decisions were celebrated by the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO), which represents the province's registered nurses (RN), nurse practitioners (NP) and nursing students.

"RNAO has long supported harm reduction for people who use substances, and defended Vancouver's Insite SIS in the Supreme Court of Canada when the Stephen Harper government attempted to shut it down," says Carol Timmings, RNAO's president. "The evidence is clear: SIS save lives and build safer and healthier communities, and their impact will be felt across the province. We now hope other Ontario cities follow Ottawa and Toronto's lead and bring life-saving SIS to their communities."

On this landmark day for harm reduction, RNAO is launching a best practice guideline (BPG) on SIS. The association's internationally acclaimed BPGs use the best available evidence to develop recommendations to guide nurses and other health professionals in their practice. They are developed though a systematic review carried out by trained experts from RNAO, and guided by panels of experts in the field.

"We are thrilled that Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown, who is a steadfast champion for SIS in Ontario and made the proposal to Toronto's board of health, has accepted our invitation to serve as a panel co-chair for this important evidence-based guideline," says Doris Grinspun, RNAO's chief executive officer and the BPG program founder. "Dr. McKeown has shown tremendous leadership in making SIS a reality in Ontario and we look forward to him bringing his vast knowledge and experience."

RNAO has been a vocal supporter of McKeown's proposal throughout the process, with CEO Doris Grinspun providing multiple deputations to the board of health on the importance of SIS. Grinspun says SIS will help curb Toronto's rising overdose rate – which increased 77 per cent over the past decade – and make an impact on countless families.
"Municipal leaders have put us on the right path, and nurses want to continue contributing on an even larger scale," Grinspun says. "We've lost far too many lives to overdose, and although no one can ever heal their families' heartache, let's do everything we can to prevent future tragedies."

As with all BPGs, RNAO expects other jurisdictions to benefit from the new guideline's blueprint for the best possible care, as SIS spread across the province, the country, and the world.

RNAO's Best Practice Guidelines Program is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and was launched in 1999 to provide the best available evidence for patient care across a wide range of health-care settings. They are available to all health professionals in Canada and abroad. To learn more about RNAO's Nursing Best Practice Guidelines Program or to view these resources, please visit

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


For more information, or to interview a nurse, please contact:

Daniel Punch
Communications Officer/Writer
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
Phone: 416-408-5606 / 1-800-268-7199 ext. 250