BC Co/Lab

colab rotator

Funding body

Health Canada (Substance Use and Addictions Program)

Duration of support


For more details, visit the official Co/Lab website.

The Collaborative Community Laboratory on Substance Use and Harm Reduction (Co/Lab) is a collaborative network for research and knowledge exchange to promote health and health equity for people with lived and living experience of substance use (including alcohol, other licit, and illicit substances). Co/Lab activities are guided by collaborations with people with lived and living experience of substance use, families, health care providers, researchers and policy makers, and are focused on generating practical evidence that can be used to enhance substance use services and supporting policies. The objectives of Co/Lab are to:

  1. build capacity and partnerships to support meaningful involvement of people with lived and living experience of substance use in research;
  2. create a framework for monitoring and surveillance that measures not only substance use, harms, costs, and benefits, but also social and structural disadvantages, policies, services and supports;
  3. generate community profiles of social and structural disadvantage, substance use, harms, costs, and benefits, and the availability of services and supports;
  4. support implementation and use of this framework in developing policies and practices at municipal, regional, and provincial levels;
  5. support public dialogue and empowerment to enhance policies and service systems.
The Co/Lab team, which includes CISUR scientists, people with lived and living experience of substance use, community organizations, regional and provincial government representatives, as well as national advisors, will work on the 5 objectives in several different ways.
  •  Create a provincial community of practice to build capacity, share information, and support mutual learning among stakeholders from community, government, and research.
  • Host synchronous learning activities through the Community of Practice including a virtual seminar series of webinars involving leaders with direct experience in topics related to people with lived and living experience of substance use, and virtual roundtable meetings involving researchers and practitioners to promote discussion of current evidence as well as protocols and best practices.

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

Progress to date

We have developed a draft framework for equity oriented surveillance monitoring. It has been reviewed by community partners to enhance relevance and applicability, and findings are now being incorporated into the final framework.  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.