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June 1, 2021

Phase One of Harm Reduction Initiative Completed

Report Examines Lived Experiences of Substances Users Through Three Month Interview Initiative


Victoria, BC (June 01, 2021) – The Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) and its harm reduction team have completed the stakeholder engagement phase of their four-phase Tailgate Toolkit harm reduction initiative.

Phase 1 consisted of in-depth qualitative interviews with members of the Vancouver Island construction industry who had past or present experience of drug use or were in supervisory positions and responsible for implementing harm reduction measures within their company or organization.

Findings of the report highlighted the stigmatization of opioid use within the construction/trades industry, while also describing the paths which led individuals towards substance use, such as self-medication for emotion or physical pain, and the culture of traditional masculinity and the barriers it creates when asking for help.

“The testimony within this report underscores the reality that not all substance users fit into a single category,” said Rory Kulmala, CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.  “This report only reinforces the need for a multi-faceted approach to address the overdose crisis on Vancouver Island. We believe that these stories will resonate with folks in the industry, leading to those critical conversations allowing someone to seek help if they’re in need.”

The stakeholder engagement report will inform VICA’s harm reduction team as they work with Island Health’s overdose response team to implement the next three phases of the Tailgate Toolkit.

“We welcome this report from VICA, which offers valuable insights into the impact of the drug-poisoning crisis on people working in the construction industry,” says Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “We’re grateful to everyone who shared their experiences – their stories are an invaluable contribution to the development of the Tailgate Toolkit, and to our understanding of this complex issue.”

Phase two of the Toolkit will be a training course for those in direct supervisory or front-line response positions which would cover recognizing substance use/impairment, mental health first aid, mental health, and substance use literacy with a focus on having effective and supportive conversations, a more thorough summary of services available, and naloxone trainer training.

To view and download the Phase 1 report, click here.

To learn more about the Tailgate Toolkit visit,  


Rory Kulmala
Chief Executive Officer
Vancouver Island Construction Association

Owen O’Rourke, Communications, VICA | 250-800-1722

Andrew Leyne, Media relations, Island Health | 250-370-8908 


The Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) has served the construction community since 1912 and is one of Canada’s oldest not-for-profit, industry associations. With offices in Victoria and Nanaimo, VICA connects the Island’s institutional, commercial, and multi-family residential sectors with skilled labour, education, and networking opportunities.

About Island Health

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 850,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 23,000 staff and over 2,500 physician partners, 4,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.