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News | 21st November 2019

Provincial Work on Critical Opioid Issues

Thunder Bay Counselling is Leading Provincial Work on Critical Opioids Issues

Local agency is leading the Ontario Opioids Case Managers Network
and hosting provincial conference in Toronto this week.


Thursday November 20, 2019, Thunder Bay, Ontario: – Earlier this year, Public Health Ontario reported that Thunder Bay and its surrounding area has the highest per-capita accidental opioid overdose death rate in the province, at 22.7 per 100,000 people. With data showing a steady increase in opioid use and opioid related harms, the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network plays a critical role in connecting, training and supporting Opioid Case Managers across the Province.

Thunder Bay Counselling is the lead agency for the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network, which represents 27 agencies who are serving patients in Ontario. Acting as a liaison and professional development lead, Thunder Bay Counselling is working directly with network partners and dozens of Opioid Case Managers to facilitate provincial discussions and explore sector-led solutions on the opioid crisis.

This week, Thunder Bay Counselling is also hosting a Provincial Opioid Case Managers Network Conference in Toronto. The conference runs November 20th – Friday 22nd and will address current challenges and updates including: Opiate Use Disorder in Primary Care, Provincial Opioid Results & Roundtable Discussions, and Human Trafficking.

Kris Carlson, a specialized Youth-In-Transition Worker with Thunder Bay Counselling, is hosting a full day of peer learning on Human Trafficking, and providing vital information on topics such as the stages of exploitation, understanding trafficking, warning signs and vulnerability factors, psychology of traffickers, engagement strategies for client and potential clients, and self-reflection about how Opioid Case Managers practice. In her role in Thunder Bay, Kris helps to prevent the trafficking of youth leaving care who may be targeted by human traffickers.

Says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling: “Thunder Bay Counselling is committed to improving services to individuals struggling with opioid use and addiction, which is of particular importance to Thunder Bay and northern Ontario communities. Considering the level of opioid use in our region, it is important that Thunder Bay Counselling is the provincial lead for the Ontario Opioid Case Managers Network. We are invested in working together for solutions to the epidemic facing our communities.”

According to recent studies, one in eight people in Ontario received an opioid for chronic non-cancer related pain in 2016. There has also been a steady increase reported in opioid-related harms in Ontario for more than a decade; more than 1,450 Ontarians died from opioid-related causes in 2018.




News | 12th November 2019

November is Financial Literacy Month!

November is Financial Literacy Month

Thunder Bay Counselling announces that over 9,200 low-income children in Thunder Bay are eligible for a Canada Learning Bond.

Thunder Bay, Ontario, Friday November 8th, 2019: – November is Financial Literacy Month. To celebrate, Thunder Bay Counselling has announced a series of free community events to help local people access new programs and improve their financial well-being.

According to Thunder Bay Counselling over 9,200 children in Thunder Bay are eligible for a Canada Learning Bond. The Canada Learning Bond is money that the Government of Canada adds to a RESP for eligible children from low‑income families born in 2004 or later.

Says Sheri Fata, Manager of Financial and Child/Youth Services at Thunder Bay Counselling: “We hear more every day about poverty and the financial struggles facing low-income and working families in Thunder Bay. Finding money to save for a child’s education often seems impossible for those who are struggling to make basic ends meet. There is evidence that having even a small amount of money set aside for a child’s post-secondary education and training increases the likelihood that they will pursue options beyond high school.  That’s why we are hosting Education Savings Day.

Education Savings Day is an all-day Canada Learning Bond and RESP information and sign-up event that will take place on November 19th at Thunder Bay Counselling. The event runs from 9AM-8PM and welcomes families and children.

Continues Fata: “We want to support parents, guardians, grandparents, or anyone who is interested, to access the information they need around Registered Education Savings Plans and Canada Learning Bond.  It’s our goal to ensure that as many eligible child ren as possible are enrolled in RESP’s to ensure they receive up to $2,000 for their future education expenses.”

Credit Education Week also takes places during Financial Literacy Month.  Thunder Bay Counselling is hosting two free workshops on Mindfulness & Money at Thunder Bay Public Library. The workshops encourage people to set and achieve a money vision through visualization, reduced anxiety and focus on reaching their financial goals. Thunder Bay Counselling is also launching its first Drop-In Financial Counselling service this month, which will be then offered every Tuesday from 12-4PM.

Studies show that almost 1/3 of us feel stressed about money regularly and ¼ of us are experiencing significant financial hardship. Millennials are particularly worried about money and debt, and consumer debt in this demographic recently hit a new high.

Continues Fata: “The statistics around Canadian debt levels and spending habits are scary, and they get worse year over year. Thunder Bay Counselling is offering free community workshops and Drop-in Financial Counselling to ensure that people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds have access to impartial and unbiased advice about their financial decisions when they need it. Our financial counsellors are here to help reduce stress and assist people to find options to meet their financial goals.”

The public is invited to attend the following FREE events offered by Thunder Bay Counselling throughout the month of November.

  • Credit Education Week

Mindfulness & Money Workshops – November 12th & 14th

– Tuesday November 12th at Brodie Street Library. 12:00 Noon – 1:30 PM

– Thursday November 14th at Waverly Resource Library. 12: 00 Noon – 2:00 PM

  • Education Savings Day – November 19th

All Day RESP or Canada Learning Bond Information and Sign-Up Event

Thunder Bay Counselling, 544 Winnipeg Avenue

  • Drop-In Financial Counselling – Starting November 26th

Every Tuesday 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM

Thunder Bay Counselling, 544 Winnipeg Avenue


News | 9th August 2019

RAAM Clinic Receives Transformative Change Award 2019

Thunder Bay, Ontario, August 9, 2019 – Thunder Bay’s Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic (RAAM Clinic) was recently awarded a Transformative Change Award 2019 by the Alliance for Healthier Communities at a national Community Health Connections conference in Ottawa.

The RAAM Clinic is a collaboration of seven community partners providing addictions medicine and client supports for individuals with substance use issues. Launched in 2018, the RAAM Clinic aims to tackle Thunder Bay’s elevated rates of opioid and alcohol abuse, and support overdose prevention as a community-wide effort.

The RAAM Clinic is offered through two main sites in Thunder Bay at NorWest Community Health Centres and St. Joseph’s Care Group’s Balmoral Centre. Individuals aged 16 years and over can access services at any time through health care provider referral or without an appointment as a self-referral or on a walk-in basis.

Says Juanita Lawson, CEO of NorWest Community Health Centres; “There are several clinical and service features that make the RAAM Clinic transformative. As a group of community partners, our goal was to design a service model that would be accessible, barrier free and relevant to people living with addictions. We are honoured to have been recognized by our peers for this innovative work.”

The Transformative Change Awards celebrate exceptional organizations whose innovative projects improve the health and well-being of people in our communities who face barriers to health.

Says Nancy Chamberlain, CEO of Thunder Bay Counselling: “The RAAM Clinic is about breaking down walls and focusing efforts on what people struggling with addictions really need. Evidence shows us that timely access to treatment and peer support from individuals with lived addictions experience are two key essential factors. Thunder Bay Counselling is proud to part of this collaborative community model to provider faster and better access to addictions services in Thunder Bay.”

Says Nancy Black, Vice President, Addictions & Mental Health at St. Joseph’s Care Group; “The RAAM Clinic is a welcoming and safe space where individuals who are struggling with addictions can receive medical treatment, counselling and peer support. This community collaboration supports client centred care by focusing on personal goals and individual needs.”

The RAAM Clinic is a collaboration of the following organizations: St Joseph’s Care Group (RAAM Clinic site), NorWest Community Health Centres (RAAM Clinic site), Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, People Advocating for Change through Empowerment, Thunder Bay Counselling, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Thunder Bay Drug Strategy.

News | 20th June 2019

Thunder Bay Counselling Achieves Double Accreditation


June 20, 2019 – Thunder Bay Counselling recently welcomed external peer reviews from two independent Canadian bodies; the Canadian Centre for Accreditation (CCA) and Credit Counselling Canada. As a result of the evaluations, Thunder Bay Counselling is delighted to announce that it has achieved full accreditation from both organizations.

The Canadian Centre for Accreditation is an independent non-profit offering accreditation specifically tailored to community-based health and social services across Canada. Thunder Bay Counselling received full accreditation for best practices in Organizational Standards, Family Counselling and Groups Standards, Employee Assistance Service Provision, Contract Management Standards, Community Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Says Nelson Sidorski, Board Chair of Thunder Bay Counselling: “To be CCA Accredited is truly a seal of approval for quality excellence. Our stakeholders can be assured that we have undergone an extensive internal and external review process that measures our practices against sector and industry standards. This is assurance of our commitment to delivering maximum quality, value and accountability to our clients and the community.”

The Credit Counselling Canada Accreditation Program ensures a high quality of credit counselling services nationally for consumers and partners. Receiving accreditation acknowledges Thunder Bay Counselling’s best practises in delivering community-based credit counselling services.

Says Nancy Chamberlain, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Counselling: “Our Board of Directors sees accreditation as a way to externally monitor our organization and a means to identify opportunities to improve the quality of services we provide to individuals, families, workplaces and communities. Being Accredited allows us to demonstrate our accomplishments at not only an operational level but also in our business management and community governance. With increasing pressure for public accountability, participation in the accreditation process promotes a quality and safety culture across the organization.”

Thunder Bay Counselling announced its double accreditation achievements today during its Annual General Meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate its organizational culture of service excellence through continuous improvement, as well as showcase leading practices and celebrate the great work of Thunder Bay Counselling staff.


News | 5th February 2019

Male Survivors 3-Day Retreat

You are not alone.  Begin to heal with other male survivors of sexual abuse in a safe and confidential space.

For more information or to register, call Diana at (807) 684-1878.


News | 5th September 2018

Community Mentors Wanted to Help Get Youth at Risk on the Right Path

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 – Thunder Bay Counselling announced today it needs volunteer mentors to help positively change the lives of young people. Twenty-five people are urgently needed to be mentors to youth for their upcoming CHOICES program.

The CHOICES program is designed specifically to provide youth aged 12-17 with healthy coping strategies. Mentors participate once a week for ten weeks, supporting youth in a group setting to think and act positively, and feel more confident to choose the right direction in life. Programs are offered in both school and community settings. Most importantly, it provides youth with an opportunity to talk openly about their concerns and worries in a safe environment.

People of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages, sexual orientation, gender identities are wanted to talk about and explore issues such as: self-respect, goal setting, decision-making, relationships and social media.

“We cannot run the CHOICES program without volunteer mentors,” says Pia Heikkinen, CHOICES Coordinator. “We are looking for people from all walks of life who can give their time to our community’s youth for a few hours during the day or in the evening. It’s amazing to see how inspired the youth are after attending these sessions and how proud they are when they graduate the program.”

CHOICES programs will run during the following time periods:

  • Tuesdays, October 2nd – December 4th: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm (School Program)
  • Wednesdays, October 3rd – December 5th: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm (School Program)
  • Thursdays, October 4th – December 6th: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm (Community Program)

CHOICES program mentors are provided with mandatory orientation and training prior to the program start. Volunteer mentors must be 19 years of age or older and be able to attend the one-day training Saturday, September 22nd, 9 am to 5 pm.

To apply today or for more information visit:

News | 16th August 2018

Training Opportunities now Open!

safeTALK Training
February 28, 2019
6:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Thunder Bay Counselling
$40 per person

safeTALK is an alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15 to become a suicide-alert helper.  Through words and actions, most people with thoughts of suicide invite help to stay alive.


Governance Training Session
Wednesdays – in October, November, January, March, May
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Insight on Memorial (594 Memorial Avenue)
Presented by: Diane Walker, MSW, RSW, PhD
Single Session: $75 per person
Full Series: $300 per person

  1. October 10, 2018 – Orientation to Good Governance (Principles of Good Governance – Quality = Outcomes, Authority, Accountability)
  2. November 21, 2018 – Governance – Policy in Action (Monitoring and Managing Organizational Performance, CEO Board Relationship, CEO Performance Reviews, Board Performance)
  3. January 16, 2019 – Governance and the Strategic Plan – (balancing outcomes with strategy in the pursuit of sustainable excellence)
  4. March 20, 2019 – Governing for Quality Services – (How to govern for quality without getting into operations )
  5. May 8, 2019 – Risk Governance – (protecting and sustaining organizational capacity in both governance and operations)


News | 9th July 2018

United Way’s 26th Annual Great Billboard Rescue

Thunder Bay Counselling was thrilled to once again participate in the United Way’s Annual Great Billboard Rescue on May 17th 2018. This year’s event raised $90,000 that will help to fund programs and services at 30 local agencies. Many thanks to our supporters and everyone who donated to the Great Billboard Rescue. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated!


News | 18th June 2018

AffordAbility Fund Program

The power of energy efficiency to ease the burden of electricity bills:

Thunder Bay Hydro announces AffordAbility Fund Program to bring energy savings to homes and produce lasting benefits

THUNDER BAY, ON, JUNE 15, 2018 – Today, Thunder Bay Hydro introduced the new AffordAbility Fund Program in Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario. The utility has partnered with local community services to deliver the program that is designed to alleviate electricity bill costs for residents and families with moderate incomes.

Those who qualify for assistance through the Fund will receive free energy saving upgrades to their home that will make it more energy efficient and help reduce their electricity bills for the long-term. Upgrades include a Home Energy Kit with products which may include ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs, power bar, faucet aerator, along with energy-saving tips, while customers demonstrating a greater need, could qualify for equipment such as new appliances, programmable thermostats, and building insulation.

“Thunder Bay Hydro is committed to expand our thinking about how energy efficiency can be deployed and increase residential home energy efficiency. The AffordAbility Fund Program is about increasing support and ensuring opportunities are available for our customers to save on their electricity bills through energy efficiency,” says Tim Wilson, Thunder Bay Hydro, VP Customer & Information Services. “When you save energy you save money, and you may see the comfort, health, and value of your home increase.”

Thunder Bay Hydro has partnered with local community services to ensure that all eligible customers are benefiting from this important program and savings continue into the future. Community partner, Thunder Bay Counselling, will help get the word out about the program and will support those that sign up for the initiative through its Financial Counselling Program. “Our financial counselling can provide residents with further supports and tools to increase savings and equip residents with the knowledge to see lasting benefits and improve their financial well-being,” explains Sheri Fata, Manager of Education and Support Services, Thunder Bay Counselling. “Energy efficiency is a great resource. It delivers many societal benefits such as energy savings, improved health and safety, community revitalization and enhanced energy reliability.”

Whether residents rent or own, or live in a house or an apartment, they can be eligible for the AffordAbility Fund Program. The level that they qualify for depends on net income and average energy bill. Those that are eligible for the AffordAbility Fund Program do not have to pay for the upgrades or installation with the program offered free of charge.

“Older households lack adequate insulation and usually have dated and less energy efficient appliances. Small changes through the AffordAbility Fund Program can make a big difference. A program like this can be really transformative for a community. The AffordAbility Fund Program provides vital support for people that need it the most,” continues Wilson.

To apply for the AffordAbility Fund Program, visit or call 1-855-494-FUND. Those that start the process will be asked to answer a quick questionnaire.

The AffordAbility Fund Program will also be offered in Atikokan, Fort Frances, Kenora and Sioux Lookout. Information sessions with potential community partners will be held in the communities between June 18th and June 20th.

News | 24th November 2017

Resolute’s Thunder Bay Mill Donates $5,000 to Thunder Bay Counselling Centre

Accepting check

(From left to right: Sarah Hakala, Kevin Moriarty, John Cole and Peter Giardetti – Resolute; Nancy Chamberlain – Thunder Bay Counselling Centre)


On October 17th, 2017, members of Resolute Forest Products’ Thunder Bay Management team and Joint Health and Safety Committee presented a $5,000 donation to Thunder Bay Counselling Centre Executive Director, Nancy Chamberlain.

Through the company’s Board of Directors Safety Award program, Resolute can earn $5,000 to add to annual community contributions for every 250,000 hours worked without a recordable injury. The Thunder Bay mill employees worked for over 250,000 consecutive hours injury-free, achieving an important safety milestone and earning $5,000 to donate to the organization of their choice. The Joint Health and Safety Committee reached out to Thunder Bay Counselling to offer support for its local programs.

In 2016, Resolute donated nearly $190,000 to charitable and community organizations chosen by employees, who contributed to the company’s outstanding safety performance.

Thunder Bay Counselling is the leading provider of counselling, education and support services in the Thunder Bay area, offering both personal and workplace support services to help people make positive changes in their lives.