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Peer Supporter - Substance Use Services Clinic (Women's College Hospital)

  • Posted:Mar 06, 2023
  • Apply by:Mar 31, 2023
  • Job Type
  • Full Time
  • Job Level
  • Other
  • Location
  • Toronto, ON
  • Impact Area
  • Other
  • Impact Category
  • Other
  • Company Type
  • Other

About this position

POSITION TITLE: Peer Supporter, Substance Use Services Clinic, Women’s College Hospital

Introduction to Krasman Centre

Incorporated in 1998, Krasman Centre is a community based mental health and addiction Consumer/Survivor Initiative serving York Region, north Toronto and South Simcoe County. All our staff and volunteers are individuals with direct lived experience, of mental health and/or substance use challenges and/or as family members/caregivers. We offer a wide range of peer-support based programs and services including: 

  • Peer Support Drop-In Centres 
  • 24/7 Warm Line and Peer Crisis Support Service 
  • Mobile Peer Support Outreach 
  • Family Support Program 
  • Peer Support training programs 
  • Peer Navigators embedded in hospital Emergency Departments
  • Peer Supporters in Withdrawal Management Programs and RAAM clinics 

More information about Krasman Centre can be found here: www.krasmancentre.com 

Peer Support is a respectful relationship between the Peer Supporter and the individual that promotes empowerment, trust and mutuality and supports individuals to make changes and decisions to address their current level of distress and enhance their recovery and wellness. Peer Support uses recovery-oriented principles with individuals to help combat stigma, raise self-esteem, improve self-concept and instill hope.

Peer Supporters have direct lived experience with mental health / substance use challenges, have gone through a process of recovery and have obtained peer support related training to assist others with similar lived experiences. The Peer Supporter defines, models, and mentors recovery values, attitudes, beliefs, and personal actions in order to encourage wellness and resilience. Activities of peer support promote self-directed recovery by emphasizing the person, rather than the identified mental health, substance use/addiction challenge.

Introduction to Women’s College Hospital

Women's College Hospital (WCH) is an academic, ambulatory care hospital in downtown Toronto with a focus on health for women, health equity and health system solutions. Women’s College Hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and a partner in the Toronto Opioid Overdose Action Network (TO2AN). Women's College Hospital is committed to equity, quality and patient safety as key professional values, essential components of daily practice, and our strategic vision: Healthcare revolutionized for a healthier and more equitable world.

Background to Substance Use Services Clinic at Women’s College Hospital

The Substance Use Service (SUS) at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) provides in-person and virtual care to people seeking assistance or information regarding their use of substances.  The multidisciplinary team consists of addiction physicians, a social worker, consulting psychiatrist, addictions service workers and a nurse practitioner.  The team takes a holistic, trauma-informed approach to the assessment and support of clients.  Services include medication-assisted treatment, psychosocial support, management of acute withdrawal, harm reduction education and supplies, and referral to other resources as appropriate.

The Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic facilitates low-barrier access to urgent assessments for substance related issues. The team also collaborates with the Acute Ambulatory Care Unit (AACU) to support individuals with short-term admission for withdrawal management.

Position Description:

Drawing from lived experience of addiction challenges, the Peer Supporter will work in the Substance Use Service, including the RAAM clinic, to assist individuals seeking care at Women’s College Hospital. 

The goal of the Peer Supporter role is broadly to enhance engagement in care for substance use and/or mental health challenges, improve the quality of the program participant’s experience with the Substance Use Service/team at WCH and with system navigation, and to build and enhance relationships with community resources.

Krasman Centre is seeking a reliable, emotionally intelligent, professional and compassionate individual with lived experience with substance use challenges and recovery, to support participants within Women’s College Hospital’s Substance Use Services Clinic.


Program Participant Support and Engagement

  • Orient the participant to the Peer Supporter Role including an understanding of the non-clinical role and the optional support provided
  • Be available to the individual during their clinic visit as determined collaboratively with the participant
  • Support the person, as requested, in identifying individual priorities/goals, support the development and revision of individual’s recovery/wellness plans including relapse prevention strategies while working collaboratively with the interdisciplinary team
  • Provide support in a manner consistent with recovery philosophy, which emphasizes peer and natural support, and the de-escalation of distress.
  • Provide Peer Support (in both 1:1 and group formats), that is harm-reduction based, trauma informed and culturally affirming
  • Support the traditional practices and initiatives that are based on Indigenous peoples’ customs, values, and beliefs
  • Work with the individual to enhance their social connectedness and personal support network
  • Provide information on individual advocacy, self-help, recovery/wellness, crisis planning and prevention, empowerment tools as requested by the person
  • Document as per hospital guidelines using a strengths-based, recovery supporting language
  • Maintain compliance with Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) in all interactions
  • Working with the team, support individuals being admitted to WCH Acute Ambulatory Care Unit (AACU) for management of withdrawal or treatment initiation by giving information about what to expect, accompanying the individual as needed and advocating with and on behalf of the individual to other providers as requested
  • Provide follow-up contact for individuals who attend a first RAAM visit or who miss a follow-up RAAM visit, individuals transferred to another setting (withdrawal management or to another hospital) and individuals discharged from WCH AACU
  • Community based, face-to-face visits and virtual supports may also be needed
  • Other duties as assigned.

RAAM Related Activities:

  • Welcoming participants attending the RAAM; build rapport, create a comfortable and judgement free atmosphere tailored to the individual’s current state (emotional, physical, mental, spiritual) and capacity.
  • Communicate participant concerns to relevant clinic team members and build awareness among clinic staff of participant needs and perspectives
  • Advocate with and on behalf of the individual to other providers as requested
  • Provide information on individual advocacy, self-help, recovery/wellness, “crisis” planning and prevention, empowerment tools as requested by person
  • Provide information about the spectrum of approaches to substance use care/recovery including harm reduction strategies, supplies, and abstinence.
  • Collaborate with the Addiction Service Worker around harm reduction education and distribution of harm reduction supplies including documentation and logging of supply distribution
  • Encourage accessing community support including individualized contacts and community peer support by providing information and links

Program and Team Development:

  • Act as a resource to the team
  • Interact with, establish, and maintain cooperative relationship with WCH SUS clinicians (physicians, nurses, service workers), learners and administrative team
  • Provide education about recovery and peer support to staff, residents, and learners.
  • Contribute to program development, research, and educational activities. 
  • Participate in design and implementation of program evaluation
  • Contribute to development of community partnerships


  • Personal lived experience with substance use/addiction challenges and recovery
  • Graduate or current participant in peer support training or equivalent experiences
  • Strong knowledge and grounding in Harm Reduction principles and practices
  • Strong knowledge and practice of Anti-Racism and Anti-oppression principles and commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Awareness of issues faced by equity-deserving communities
  • Ability to apply Recovery principles, strengths approach and empowerment-oriented philosophies and practices in work with participants
  • Strong knowledge understanding and practice of trauma informed approaches to mental health, substance use and addictions issues
  • Possess excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills enabling you to work within a collaborative and diverse inter-professional team
  • Ability to communicate and work comfortably with diverse communities
  • Knowledge of systemic issues such as poverty, unemployment, stigma, medications, and the isolation felt by individuals with substance use/mental health issues and their families
  • Extensive knowledge of local supports and services in GTA, including formal and informal resources
  • Effective leadership, decision-making, organizational and problem-solving skills are required
  • The ability to be flexible, self-directed, self-reflective and supportive
  • An ability to relate to participants from a peer perspective, as well as communicate to a health care team with an understanding of the recovery model
  • Ability to work effectively as a team member in a dynamic and fast-paced multi-disciplinary environment is essential
  • Provide supports reflective of the needs of the individual and when appropriate their families
  • Demonstrate self-awareness and purposeful self-disclosure
  • Demonstrate awareness of diversity issues and the personal impact of barriers, stigma and discrimination faced by people with addiction/mental health challenges
  • Ability to use computers and software such as Microsoft Windows, Office and Teams
  • Ability to speak a second language is a strong asset
  • Knowledge of the Ontario Mental Health Act, mental health reform principles, the Substitute Decisions Act, and the Health Care Consent Act and PHIPPA requirements
  • Current certificate in or ability to complete First Aid and CPR training
  • Recent crisis intervention training an asset
  • Valid driver’s license and access to personal vehicle for purposes of work-related travel is an asset

Schedule/Working Conditions: 

NOTE: This position is conditional upon the candidate having received at least 2 doses (primary series) of a COVID-19 vaccine series approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization, at least 14 days prior to the start date, as well as the expressed understanding that the candidate is encouraged to maintain and/or obtain follow up vaccination (booster) doses as approved and recommended by Health Canada or the World Health Organization throughout their employment with the Krasman Centre.

Hours: Full-time (1 year contract, with possibility or renewal)


Position to start May 2023 at the earliest.

Dynamic, fast-paced, self-directed environment (Women’s College Hospital). This role is required to be in-person and may also require supporting individuals in community-based settings.


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