Canada-US Roundtable on Strategies to Combat the Opioid Crisis

September 24, 2018
Event Overview and Working Agenda


The Canada-U.S. relationship is one that is unique in the world, marked by a shared border, common values and deep economic, security and cultural ties. Unfortunately, in recent years our two nations have begun to share a devastating trend: the rise in opioid-related deaths and opioid substance use disorders.

Canada and the United States benefit from substantial coordination in other shared priorities: public health surveillance in emerging infectious disease, border security, and traceability in other sectors.

There is great potential to build upon and expand existing relationships within each government to address this growing crisis, along with a broader community of stakeholders on both sides of the border. To this end, the Canada-U.S. Roundtable will assemble federal and state health professionals, members from law enforcement communities, policy makers and advocates from both countries.

The goals of the event are the following:
1. Exchange best practices in innovation to address problematic opioid use, including prevention, treatment and recovery.
2. Identify opportunities for collaboration, such as surveillance, research, training, and standards.

Ultimately, the roundtable could help encourage greater collaboration and cooperation between each country to confront this urgent issue in public health.

Event timing and location

The event will take place on September 24th, 2018 in Washington D.C. at The Pew Charitable Trusts 901 E Street NW, in advance of the Association for State Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) annual conference.

Event format and working agenda

The full-day event will include panels and breakout sessions. A working agenda is presented below, but subject to change based on feedback from speakers.




Opening keynote


Panel 1: The Opioid Crisis: Views from the Ground and 10,000 Feet

Panelist targets:
1. Federal points of contact in Canada and U.S. to address current epidemiology and national strategies to address crisis
2. Address broader social services trends/perspectives on social determinants of health (preferred)
3. First responders to address trends and challenges in their local communities




Panel 2: The Bright Lights: Innovation in Prevention, Treatment and Recovery

4-5 case examples (two Canadian, two U.S) from state/province/local level that demonstrate new approaches to prevention, treatment and recovery, particularly those that encourage cross-sectoral collaboration


Lunch Keynote: Confronting Crisis Through Leadership and Cooperation


Open Forum

Open session for audience to share perspectives and ideas for Canada-U.S. collaboration. People with live/lived experience with opioid substance use will be invited to open the Open Forum with comments.  




Breakout Sessions

Breakout session topics are included below. Each breakout group will identify and note opportunities for further Canada-U.S. collaboration beyond the event.

1. Fostering Cross-Border Coordination between Public Health and Law Enforcement: Case Examples and a Way Forward

Facilitating questions:

  • How are public health and law enforcement authorities currently working together to address common priorities, with respect to the opioid crisis?
  • Canadian and U.S. public health officials have demonstrated close coordination in areas such as emerging infectious disease. How could existing Can-U.S. coordination in public health be applied to address common priorities under the opioid crisis?
  • What are the opportunities and obstacles to fostering greater Canada-U.S. cross-coordination and information-sharing between public health and law enforcement?

2. Best Practice Prescribing, Chronic Pain Management, and Treatment of Opioid Use Disorders: Applying Lessons Learned

Facilitating questions:

  • What are the lessons learned from promoting non-opioid treatment options and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder?
  • How are health systems working together with prescribers to encourage appropriate prescribing and the expansion of medication-assisted treatment (both in Canada and the U.S.)? 

3. Access to Care: A Perspective from Rural and Urban Communities

Facilitating questions:

  • What novel approaches are being used to better service needs of rural communities.
  • How can we apply successes from urban settings to rural settings?
  • How are we examining the underlying causes that lead to addiction, and considering social determinants of health?
  • What are best practices with respect to social housing and treatment support?

4. Data, Surveillance and Research: Where We Are At, and Where We Need to Be

Facilitating questions:

  • What are the benefits and challenges associated with establishing standards for data collection, monitoring, sharing and research?
  • What informatics tools are being utilized to address the opioids crisis?
  • What are the lessons learned and way forward for Prescription Drug Monitoring? How can Canada and the United States work together to promote greater data sharing, research etc.?

December 14, 2016

Canada-US Connected Health Workshop

Gaylord National Harbor

The Canada-US Connected Health Workshop, organized by Cross-Border Health, assembled interested stakeholders and government from the US and Canada to identify common priorities with a view to fostering greater regulatory and policy coordination in connected health.

Connected health stands to improve care while reducing health system costs, through better communication between patients and providers using mobile devices. International regulatory coordination is important to the scale-up adoption of connected health technologies. Such coordination between nations is complex. Canada and the United States not only share the friendliest border in the world but also have a uniquely close partnership in regulatory and policy cooperation. Ultimately, a deeper level of Canada-US cooperation in connected health could provide a foundation for greater harmonization with other trusted nations.


The Canada-US Connected Health Workshop featured a number of key speakers from both countries, covering topics that include:

  • Regulatory harmonization
  • Privacy and security
  • Common registries
  • Critical infrastructure
  • Governance over big data for research



November 2/3, 2015

Canada-US Health Summit 2015

the Wilson Center

On November 2 and 3, 2015, more than 100 senior healthcare stakeholders—government officials, health professionals, academics and patient advocates—gathered in Washington, D.C., to participate in the inaugural Canada-US Health Summit, a meeting dedicated to sharing information and building cross-border collaborations around common health priorities.

Hosted by the Wilson Center, together with Oliver Kim and Dani Peters of Cross-Border Health, the event covered priority topics in health in both nations, including delivery system reform, health information technology, public health, regulatory cooperation, and research. Funding support for the Canada-US Health Summit was made possible through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.