St Michael's Hospital/Sherbourne Health Residential Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Program

St Micheal's Hospital recently announce a planned restructuring and unification of their current Residential Drug and Alcohol withdrawal program.  The program currently running at two locations in downtown Toronto.  The Ossington site and Max Meighan location will amalgamate under one roof at Sherbourne Health Center. 333 Sherbourne Street The first of a series of public consultations took place in February of 2015.  At this time area residents were advised that St Michael's has signed a preliminary letter to lease two vacant floors at Sherbourne Health Center to better serve "our community".   We have invited St Michael's staff to attend our May 2015 meeting to answer questions about why the program should move to Sherbourne Health, when and how it would operated.  We are very concerned that the ongoing loitering that now happens at Queen and Sherbourne will move up to Allan Gardens with this program.  

There was a large turnout to the meeting and many neighbours voiced concerns about further concentration of services in the area.  We followed up with Sherbourne Health with further questions (and their response below).

Our concerns about the good health of the neighbourhood is in direct opposition to their view of the needs of the  St Mikes' "community".

Here is our latest communications.

Attn. Cabbagetown South Residents Association Board

Thanks for the follow up. I’m glad the Q&A at your meeting was helpful; I know the team was happy to attend and hear from your members.


To respond to your questions:


“In way of follow up I would like to arrange for a tour of the programs currently running at the Ossington/Queen, Max Meighan as well as Sherbourne Health Center.  Please advise if this would be a possibility.”


It’s my understanding that at the meeting last week, your group requested a tour of the new withdrawal management facilities at Sherbourne Health Centre when they’re ready. We’d be pleased to arrange that tour when the time comes. Tours of the current locations won’t be as helpful to give you a sense of what the new facility will be like; as you know our goal is to create a better environment and program. However if you have further questions about the current programs I can get them answered, just let me know.


“If you could also compile contact info for some of the neighbouring properties near the Ossington location we could get their take on your facility and what impact there is on the neighbourhood there.”


We can’t share contact info for the site’s neighbours without their consent, but if you’d like to investigate the neighbourhood, the address is 16 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y7.


“We need to see a concerted effort by outreach workers from the hostels, City of Toronto health services, Sherbourne Health and St Mikes to help make the Allan Gardens and Moss Park neighbourhoods healthier.”


Regarding St. Michael’s piece of the puzzle, outreach in our catchment area is a big part of our mental health and addictions work, and we agree that outreach should remain a key strategy for addressing mental health and addictions issues in our communities. All our outreach programs can refer patients to withdrawal management services when the client is ready.


At a system level, better coordination of care across the system to help patients with complex needs is one of the Toronto Central LHIN’s goals for the next three years. I’d be happy to put you in touch with the Toronto Central LHIN if you’d like to discuss further with them.


“St Mikes has launched studies around Supervised Injection Sites as part of their harm reduction strategies.  No doubt they will site the number of services already in the area as their reasoning in situating Supervised Injection Sites in this area.  We are very concerned about this.”


You’re right – researchers at St. Michael’s have studied and made recommendations re: supervised injection and smoking sites. However the decision regarding opening a safe injection site in Toronto doesn’t rest with St. Michael's. There are no supervised injections sites in Ontario, and Bill C-2 that recently was passed in Ottawa imposes a host of new regulations on supervised injection sites which will make it a very difficult for anyone in Canada to open such a facility. To do so would require federal approval. Funding is a separate issue, which would come from the LHIN and be contingent on extensive community engagement. Again, I’d be happy to connect you with the Toronto Central LHIN if you would like further confirmation from them on this particular issue.




Emily Holton

Senior Communications Advisor

Communications and Public Affairs

St. Michael’s Hospital


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