BC Co/Lab

colab rotator

The goal of this 5-year project is to develop the BC Co/Lab: A collaborative community laboratory on substance use and harm reduction. The aim of the Co/Lab is to generate actionable evidence on substance use, related harms, costs, structural vulnerability, and community responses to reduce substance-related harms (defined broadly to include overdoses, blood borne diseases, stigma, and addiction, among others).

Visit the main Co/Lab website.

The Co/Lab logic model
The Co/Lab logic model


For more information, contact: Dr. Bernadette Pauly or Dr. Karen Urbanoski at cisur@uvic.ca

About Co/Lab

The BC Co/Lab is a multi-pronged community intervention that will promote access to quality, evidence-informed services for health promotion, prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. Building on existing models of public health observatories, it will complement and feed into other community, provincial, and national efforts.

The BC Co/Lab will:

  1. build capacity, networks, and partnerships with people who use substances for coordinated involvement in community-based monitoring and surveillance and mobilizing effective responses
  2. create an equity oriented community level framework for monitoring substance use, related harms and their determinants, and community responses
  3. support regional and provincial capacity for community-based and action-oriented monitoring and surveillance of substance-related harms
  4. generate community profiles of structural vulnerability, substance use, related harms, costs, and service availability
  5. support public dialogue and empowerment to inform community responses to reduce harms of substance use.

The Co/Lab team, which includes CISUR scientists, people who use substances, community organizations, regional and provincial government representatives, as well as national advisors, will work on the 5 objectives in several different ways. We will support and contribute to the development of a provincial peer network to help inform the Co/Lab’s data gathering and knowledge exchange activities. Together, the team will identify the types of data that communities need to plan, implement, and evaluate their services and supports. We will also create a provincial community of practice to build capacity, share information, and support mutual learning among stakeholders from community, government, and research. We will engage in ongoing community-level evaluation of substance-related harms and responses through primary and secondary data collection and synthesis, environmental scans, and rapid reviews of the available evidence. Finally, we will host community dialogue events across the province and other knowledge exchange activities to inform action on community responses to reduce substance-related harms.

Project team

The Co/Lab is housed at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) in Victoria, BC. The project team includes partners from BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors (BCYADWS), SOLID Outreach Society, Rural Empowered Drug Users Network (REDUN), Island Crisis Care Society, AVI Health and Community Services, AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society, Interior Health Authority, Island Health, BC Centre for Disease Control, BC Ministry of Health, BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, Overdose Emergency Response Centre, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use, and Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.

Funding bodies

Co/Lab is supported by funding from Health Canada, through their Substance Use and Addictions Program.

Progress to date

We have developed a draft framework for equity oriented surveillance monitoring.This framework is currently being reviewed by community partners to enhance relevance and applicability.  We have identified key indicators and begun the process of data requests for development of community reports.  A key aspect of work has been the production of methodological and research bulletins as well as practice briefs and the initiation of a Community of Practice partners interested in surveillance monitoring and have hosted webinars and roundtables on this topic as well as profiling community programs and responses to substance use in a variety of settings and for a range of population groups.

 For a full list of Co/Lab publications and outputs, view the Co/Lab resources page.