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RFP--Developing a Drug Strategy for Oxford County to Address Opioid and Other Substance Misuse, Oxford County Public Health & Emergency Services Oxford County

Woodstock, Ontario
Deadline November 30, 2017

Public Health & Emergency Services
410 Buller Street, Woodstock, Ontario  N4S 4N2 519-539-9800, ext. 3410  | Fax:  519-539-6206

November 10, 2017
Submission Deadline:  Thursday November 30, 2017


As a County that thinks ahead and wisely shapes the future, Oxford County Public Health (OCPH) is pleased to invite eligible organizations and individuals to submit proposals to facilitate the development of a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan for Oxford County.

There is an opioid crisis occurring across Canada. Oxford County is also experiencing the impact of opioid and other substance misuse that has already negatively affected other communities in Canada. The Opioid and Other Substance Misuse in Oxford County report identified that the rate of opioid-related deaths among Oxford County residents is increasing and in 2016 was similar to Ontario (6.2 per 100,000 population, i.e., seven deaths).  It also indicated that prescription opioid use among Oxford County residents was higher than average compared to other counties in Ontario for opioid maintenance therapy (137 per 10,000 Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) eligible people, i.e., 394 people) and high strength opioid users (2.9% of ODB eligible people, i.e., 182 people).

As part of the Province’s response to the opioid crisis, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care released a comprehensive Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose (Opioid Strategy), which includes ongoing work to enhance data collection and surveillance; modernize prescribing and dispensing practices; improve access to high quality addiction treatment services; and, enhance harm reduction services and supports.  To support implementation of the Opioid Strategy’s harm reduction pillar, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care announced that funding would be provided to boards of health to build on existing harm reduction programs and services, and improve local opioid response capacity and initiatives, known as the Harm Reduction Program Enhancement. The Harm Reduction Program Enhancement is divided into three components:

  1. Local Opioid Response
    Public Health Units (PHUs) will implement, maintain and/or expand local opioid-related programming based on an assessment of local data and community needs.
  2. Naloxone Distribution and Training
    PHUs, or their designated organization, will act as naloxone distribution leads for community organizations in order to increase dissemination of naloxone kits to priority populations by agencies where individuals are already receiving services.
  3. Opioid Overdose Early Warning and Surveillance
    PHUs will support the implementation and/or enhancement of early warning systems in their catchment areas to ensure the timely identification of, and response to, a surge in opioid overdoses.

The enhancement will work to build sustainable community outreach and response capacity to address drug and opioid-related challenges in local communities and will build on and leverage programs/services already offered by PHUs and community partners. The local opioid response component is comprised of the following activities.  

  1. Local Opioid Response
  • Engage stakeholders by Identifying and leveraging community stakeholders to support the end-to-end process of implementing a local overdose response plan (or drug strategy), which includes a significant opioid-related component
  • Conduct a population health/situational assessment
  • Lead/support the development, implementation, and evaluation of a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan
  • Adopt and ensure timely data entry into the Ontario Harm Reduction Database

This request for proposals pertains primarily to the proposed activities noted in the Local Opioid Response component, with the exception of the completion of a situational assessment and data entry into the Ontario Harm Reduction Database. The situational assessment will be completed by Public Health staff in collaboration with community partners and it is anticipated that the database will be completed by Public Health. However, it is expected that the findings of the situational assessment will be incorporated in the development of a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan for Oxford County.

Project Overview

The goal of the project is to facilitate the development of and prepare a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan for Oxford County.  

Given the complexities and interrelationships of the many challenges associated with substance use issues, it is recognized that partnerships and collaborations are fundamental to achieving results. Therefore, the development of a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan for Oxford County must be supported by a strong evidence base, through a comprehensive, collaborative, coordinated and innovative approach that encompasses the four pillar approach to substance misuse, including:

  1. Prevention: Interventions throughout the lifecycle that seek to prevent or delay the onset of substance use and address root causes of use, including surveillance activities;
  2. Treatment: Interventions that seek to improve the physical and emotional well-being of people who use or have used substances;
  3. Harm Reduction: Interventions, programs/policies that aim to reduce the potential adverse health, social and economic consequences of problematic substance use; and
  4. Enforcement: Interventions that seek to strengthen community safety by responding to crime and community disorder caused by substance use including but not limited to police/courts/corrections.

It is expected that the organization or individual will possess strong leadership and collaboration skills that will be used to build evidence-informed and innovative strategies and foster relationships to address the challenges associated with substance use and increase the impact of initiatives. A multi-faceted approach of health promotion, prevention, harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation strategies, targeting a broad range of licit and illicit substances including opioids, alcohol, cannabis and prescription drugs needs to be included in the development of a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan for Oxford County. The successful organization must complete the following deliverables.

Required Deliverables:

  1. Consult with the Project Manager and members of the community on the development of the process for development of a local drug strategy, including an overdose response plan for Oxford County.
  2. Provide a written work plan.
  3. Prepare a draft Action Plan based on relevant research and best practice.
  4. Develop a community consultation plan to gather input on the draft Action Plan as well as ideas for additional action
  5. Facilitate input from members of the community including those with lived experience, community agencies and public health staff, providing a mechanism to collect feedback including potentially sensitive feedback, integrating the review and analysis of the results into a response plan (or drug strategy) for Oxford County.
  6. Conduct a consultation meeting with members of the Harm Reduction Program Enhancement Steering Committee and the Local Opioid Response Working Groups to discuss the results of the community meetings.
  7. Develop a comprehensive and innovative, evidence-based overdose prevention, harm reduction, treatment and response plan. The written plan should address overdoses resulting from all drugs with an initial focus on opioids (non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical), cannabis use, and alcohol and/or licit or illicit substances.
  8. Recommend an approach, including potential community structures and committees that will enable the success and sustainability of the plan and ensure that the activities are accomplished and monitored to completion.

A number of existing resources will be made available to the selected organization to assist with
their work including:

  • Local and provincial surveillance and population health assessment information
  • Oxford Community Health Reports: Opioid and Other Substance Misuse in Oxford County
  • Examples of other drug strategies completed in other regions

Preferred Skills:

  • Advanced facilitation and demonstrated use of evidence, including research to inform action
  • Experience collaborating with public health, members of the community and organizations with expertise in the areas of substance use health promotion, prevention, harm reduction and/or treatment
  • Demonstrate an enhanced understanding of substance use health promotion, prevention, harm reduction and/or treatment
  • Ability to translate research into planning that enables sustained practice
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize information from different sources
  • Experience engaging with populations with lived experiences and understanding the cultural contexts of populations (cultural sensitivity)
  • Demonstrated critical thinking and synthesis skills
  • Advanced report writing skill
  • Excellent meeting management, written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work to timelines
  • Knowledge of the public health sector

Submission Details


  • Proposal not to exceed 10 pages including:  proposed work plan, program deliverables, timelines budget and any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Curriculum vitae and cover letter outlining related project experience and references (upon request).
  • Timelines:
  • Deadline for submission Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 4:00 by email to contact listed below.
  • Selected candidates will be interviewed the week of December 11, 2017.
  • Project anticipated to begin December 11, with a required completion date of no later than spring 2019.

Location of the Work:
Consultants will be required to communicate with the project lead on a regular basis during the project. Some travel to Oxford County is required to fulfill the deliverables. Costs associated with communication modes, travel and accommodations should be included in the proposed budget.

This project is expected to be completed within a 12 - 18 month period. Quotations for organizations or individuals seeking to complete this project should submit a detailed budget.

Criteria for assessment:
The merit of the proposals will be assessed based on the following categories:

  1. Project understanding and methodology
  2. Innovative responses to the County’s opioid crisis across the prevention, harm reduction and treatment continuum.
  3. Success with projects of similar size and complexity
  4. Timelines
  5. Proposed fee structure
  6. Organizational fit (based on references/interviews)

About Oxford County Public Health

Local public health is a department of Oxford County and is governed by County Council. Oxford County Public Health programs and services are delivered by 75 front-line staff and 10 managers. We employ a shared leadership model with a chief executive officer responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of the department and an acting medical officer of health responsible for public health concerns. We have three organizational divisions: Foundational Standards, Health Promotion (including dental, family health, and population health, including substance misuse), and Health Protection (including environmental health, infectious disease prevention & control, sexual health, vaccine preventable diseases and harm reduction). County corporate services provides shared administrative services as well as emergency planning.

Peter Heywood, Manager, Health Protection
Oxford County Public Health
410 Buller Street
Woodstock, Ontario, N4S, 4N2 Email:
Phone: 519-539-9800, or 1-800-755-0394 ext. 3502