CCSA’s Issues of Substance Conference

Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are the ones most frequently asked about CCSA’s Issues of Substance conference. If you do not find the answer to your question here or elsewhere on the conference website, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

CCSA will be adding additional questions and answers on a regular basis leading up to the conference.

Information about the Conference

Where will the conference take place?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021 will be a virtual experience with lots of new features for the exciting new format!

When is the conference?

CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021 will be three half-days of programming November 23–25, 2021, as part of National Addictions Awareness Week.

What will the conference schedule consist of?

The conference consists of presentations during three consecutive half days. It is anticipated the presentations will take place during the afternoon hours in the eastern time zone (EDT). This scheduling will accommodate attendees watching the presentations in Canada’s six time zones. The exact schedule with times will be released with the full conference program this summer. 

What is theme for CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021 conference?

The theme for this years’ conference is Driving Change Together.

Substance use is a complex, far-reaching and consequential issue. It takes a wide range of perspectives and collective efforts to drive the needed change to shape a brighter future for people who use substances. Wellness will be improved in a future where barriers are broken down and stigma is eliminated. 

Substance use is associated with a staggering health impact and cost to society. In 2017, substance use in Canada cost almost $46 billion. It led to more than 275,000 hospitalizations and contributed to the loss of nearly 75,000 lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is making the substance use landscape in Canada even more complex by having a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of Canadians. The pandemic is shining a light on the inequity that exists in our country, especially around health and access to health care. It is disproportionally affecting individuals and communities who are marginalized. And it is making an already devastating opioid crisis worse. 

An early key lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we need to be able to adapt to changing contexts. There is immense opportunity for innovation through science and technology. We must work together to shape our future. These lessons are equally true in the field of substance use and addiction.

By driving change together, we can create a healthier Canadian society where evidence transforms approaches to substance use. 

Who should attend CCSA’s Issues of Substance?

The following groups would benefit from attending CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021:

  • Addiction specialists (e.g., health professionals, treatment providers, clinical staff, counsellors, social workers) 
  • Allied professionals (e.g., hospital staff, law enforcement personnel, correctional workers) 
  • Public health professionals (e.g., public health nurses, health promotion program staff)
  • Policy and decision makers, program managers
  • Researchers
  • Knowledge brokers
  • People with lived or living experience and their families
  • Private sector professionals


How do I register for CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021?

You can register for the conference through the CCSA registration portal once registration is open.

When does registration for CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021 open? 

Registration for the conference is tentatively scheduled to open on Monday, May 3, 2021

What are the registration fees?

The registration fees for the conference are:  Registered and paid by Friday, October 22, 2021

  • Early Bird Registration: $299
  • Early Bird Student Registration: $119

Registered and paid after Friday, October 22, 2021

  • General Registration: $399
  • General Student Registration: $159

I am a student. How do I qualify for the student rate?

To qualify for the student rate, students must provide proof of full-time registration as an undergraduate, masters or doctoral student at a Canadian post-secondary institution in a program related to substance use or addiction. When you register, please upload a letter from your dean indicating your student status and select “Student Registration.”

What does my registration fee include?

When you register for the conference, you are will have access to every session presented at the conference. As a new feature this year, CCSA plans to record most sessions at the conference and make them available for all attendees for a limited time after the event.

If I am presenting at the conference, do I have to register?

All presenters are required to pay registration fees and must do so by Monday, July 19, to secure their spot in the program. Presenters can register for the conference through the CCSA registration portal.

I can no longer attend the conference when it is scheduled, but have already registered. What can I do?

As CCSA’s Issues of Substance is a virtual event where attendees will have access to most of the materials for 30 days after it is over, there are no refunds for the conference. Only in special circumstances, such as not working in the field anymore, will a refund be considered. Individuals wishing to cancel must submit in writing a cancellation request that outlines your reason for the request to Golden Planners Inc. at

Can I transfer my registration to a colleague who will attend in my place?

Substitutions from the same organization are permitted until November 14, 2021. Substitutions must be submitted in writing to After November 14, registrations are non-transferable.

Sessions and Education Credits

When will the final program for the conference be released?

CCSA anticipates releasing the complete final program for the conference during the summer of 2021. 

Will any speakers be announced early?

CCSA will be announcing the keynote speakers for the plenary sessions in the months leading up to the final program.

What are the differences between the types of sessions?

There are three different types of sessions at CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2021: oral presentations, interactive learning workshops and poster presentations.

Oral Presentations consist of individual presentations of 15 minutes or panel presentations with three 15-minute presentations. Individual and panel presentations will provide a brief overview of the major points or highlights of a particular program or research project. Each presentation will be followed by 15 minutes of moderated discussion and questions from a discussant. 

Oral presentations will be either academic or based on personal experience. Personal experience presentations can be traditional oral presentations or in alternative presentation formats, such as posters, artwork or storytelling.

Interactive Learning Workshops are opportunities to demonstrate the real-life application of techniques and skills. They will run 60 minutes in length. 

Poster Presentations allow for the presentation of key points or highlights of a research project, program or intervention. During the designated poster viewing, the author will be available to respond to questions about their work. 

Does CCSA’s Issues of Substance provide simultaneous interpretation?

CCSA will provide simultaneous interpretation into French or English for all plenary sessions, as well as select concurrent sessions yet to be determined. The program will identify presentations chosen for simultaneous interpretation.

What types of Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits can I earn by attending CCSA’s Issues of Substance conference?

The types of CEU credits an attendee can earn will be determined after the finalization of the conference program. However, in previous years individuals who attended CCSA’s Issues of Substance conference have been eligible to receive CEU credits for: 

  • The Indigenous Certification Board of Canada (ICBOC),
  • ;The Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF),
  • The Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC), and
  • The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).



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