CCSA’s Issues of Substance Conference

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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 more questions and answers on a regular basis leading up to the conference. 

Information about the conference 

Where will the conference take place?

The conference will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.

When is the conference? 

CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2023 will be held Nov. 20 to 22, 2023, as part of National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW).

What will the conference schedule include?

The conference will include programming over three days. The first two days will feature full day of programming, while the final day of the conference will have a half day of programming. The program is a mix of keynote presentations, concurrent sessions, workshops and poster presentations. 

What is theme for CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2023 conference? 

The theme for this years’ conference is Inspiration, Innovation and Inclusion.

Substance use is a complex and far-reaching issue. It 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 made an already complicated substance use landscape even more complex. The mental health and well-being of people living in Canada were significantly impacted. The inequities that exist in our country were exacerbated. 

CCSA believes Inspiration, Innovation and Inclusion are the key ingredients for a healthier Canadian society, where evidence transforms approaches to substance use health.

We have learned what is possible if we all work together. It takes a wide range of perspectives and collective efforts to drive needed change. By participating in NAAW and the conference, you can share novel, grassroots ideas that can produce significant change. 

Who should attend CCSA’s Issues of Substance?

The following groups would benefit from attending CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2023:

  • Substance use specialists (e.g., health professionals, treatment providers, clinical staff, counsellors, social workers) 
  • Allied professionals (e.g., hospital staff, law enforcement personnel, correctional workers) 
  • Primary care and public health professionals (e.g., public health nurses, health promotion program staff) 
  • Medical professionals practicing specialties (e.g., emergency medicine, cancer treatment, neurology, internal medicine)
  • Policy and decision makers, and program managers 
  • Researchers 
  • Knowledge brokers
  • People with lived or living experience of substance use and their families and their friends
  • Private-sector professionals

Due to the nature of the content of some of the presentations and the sensitivity of the issues, CCSA’s Issues of Substance is open to individuals aged 18 years and older. 

What should I wear to CCSA’s Issues of Substance?

Attire for the meeting is business casual. Staff take every effort to provide a comfortable learning environment; however, meeting room temperatures can fluctuate greatly due to the number of people present. CCSA staff recommend bringing a sweater or blazer to the conference. 

Where do I make my hotel reservations?

You can make hotel reservations through CCSA’s exclusive block of rooms. 

Will the conference mobile app return in 2023?

CCSA plans to bring back the conference app for attendees to use during the 2023 conference. The app will be ready for use in fall 2023. CCSA will email everyone registered for the conference a link on how to download the app before the conference.




How do I register for CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2023?

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

When does registration for CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2023 open? 

Registration for the conference is tentatively scheduled to open on Tues., Apr. 4, 2023. 

What are the registration fees?

The registration fees for the conference are: 

The first 100 people to register can do so at a special registration rate of $950. 

Early Bird Registration fees (registered and paid by Fri., Sept. 15, 2023.

  • Early Bird Registration: $1,050
  • Early Bird Student Registration: $450

Regular Registration fees (registered and paid online between Sat., Sept. 16 and Mon., Nov. 13 or in-person beginning Sun. Nov. 19)

  • Regular Registration: $1,150
  • Regular Student Registration: $550

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, addiction or behavioural addictions. Please upload a photo of your student card displaying the current year at the time of registration.

What does my registration fee include?

When you register for the conference, you are entitled to three continental breakfasts, two lunches and all break refreshments.

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

Oral, workshop and poster presenters need to pay registration fees and must do so by Fri., June 9, 2023, 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 but have already registered. What can I do? 

Registrants can cancel their registration and receive a refund up to 11:59 EST on Fri., Oct. 6, 2023. We will issue no refunds after that time. A 25 per cent administration fee will be withheld from the fee reimbursement for registrations cancelled in writing before Oct. 6. You must submit a cancellation in writing 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 Fri., Nov. 10, 2023. Substitutions must be submitted in writing to After Nov. 10, registrations are nontransferable.

COVID-19 and the Conference 

What health and safety measures are in place for the conference. 

CCSA is working with the Vancouver Convention Centre and our host hotels to ensure all health and safety measures are met during the conference. The health of our attendees is our top priority. This includes:

  • Encouraging attendees to wear a mask and socially distance
  • Enforcing room capacity requirements 
  • Enforcing proper cleaning procedures
  • Having hand sanitizer and masks publicly available to attendees

Do I need to wear a mask?

Currently, individuals are not required to wear masks in the Vancouver Convention Centre. Attendees are strongly encouraged to wear masks if they are worried about being near other attendees or they have underlying health conditions. 

Masking and other preventive measures can change based on COVID restrictions imposed by the federal, provincial or municipal governments. CCSA will enforce all health measures as needed during the dates of the conference.

What if I get sick during the conference?

If you become ill during the conference, you are encouraged to isolate either at your home or in your hotel room. You are encouraged to take a rapid COVID-19 test. You may return to the conference once you are symptom free for 24 hours. 

I caught COVID-19 during the conference, am I entitled to a refund?

CCSA is working with the Vancouver Convention Centre to ensure the highest safety measures are in place during the conference. Anyone who tests positive for COVID -19 or becomes ill in any way during the conference is not entitled to a refund.

I caught COVID-19 just before the conference, and I am now unable able to travel or attend the conference. Am I entitled to a refund?

CCSA will address these situations on a case-by-case basis. Possible solutions include transferring your registration to another individual (even after the transfer deadline) to take your place or transferring your registration to the 2025 Issues of Substance event.

Presentation Sessions and Education Credits


When will the final program for the conference be released? 

CCSA anticipates releasing the complete final program for the conference by early summer 2023. We will post the program to the conference website once it is ready. Follow CCSA’s social media accounts for the latest news on the program and other conference developments. 

Will any speakers be announced early? 

CCSA will be announcing select keynote speakers in the months leading up to the final program.

Do I need to wear my name badge?

For security purposes, name badges are always required. There will be no admittance to the concurrent sessions or the exhibit hall for individuals without a visible name badge.

What are the differences between the types of sessions? 

There are three types of sessions at CCSA’s Issues of Substance 2023: oral presentations, interactive learning workshops and poster presentations. 

Oral Presentations consist of individual presentations of 20 minutes, or team presentations that feature a panel of three 20-minute presentations. Both allow for a brief overview of the major points or highlights of a particular program, policy or research project. All presentations will be followed by 30 minutes of moderated discussion and questions from attendees, which will be arranged by the Issues of Substance Program Committee.

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

Workshops are interactive learning opportunities to show the real-life application of techniques and skills. They include opportunities for participants to be engaged and actively participate in learning. They will run 90 minutes in length. 

Poster Presentations allow for the presentation of key points or highlights of a research project, program, policy 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 that are 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 type 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).

CEU credits from more organizations are being considered. Please contact us with suggestions on other CEU credits CCSA should consider. 

The Exhibit Hall

When will the exhibit hall be open? 

The exhibit hall will be open the following days and times, with peak times noted: 

Mon., Nov. 20: 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Breakfast: 7:30–8:30 a.m.
Break: 10–10:30 a.m.
Break: 2:45–3:45 p.m.
Tues., Nov. 21: 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Breakfast: 7:30–8:30 a.m.
Break: 10–10:30 a.m.
Break: 2:45–3:45 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 22: 7:30 a.m.–12 p.m.
Breakfast: 7:30–8:30 a.m.
Break: 10–10:30 a.m.

Please note: All times are listed in Pacific standard time and are subject to change at CCSA’s sole discretion. 

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