Less Harmful Coalition

Less Harmful Coalition is an incorporated, not-for-profit organization. Through education and advocacy, we aspire to advance pragmatic approaches to substance use and help people live longer, healthier lives.

Harm Reduction Forum 2022 (Mercedes Mwemera & Guy Felicella)

Upcoming Events

  • Sept 28, 8:00 a.m. MDT
    Join Andre Picard and four tobacco harm reduction subject matter experts as they discuss the science and speculation around e-cigarettes and other emerging nicotine products.
  • Oct 26, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
    Toronto, 401 Bay Street Simpson, tower 8th floor, Toronto, ON M5H 2Y4, Canada
    A full-day event on advancing less harmful approaches to substance use, caring for vulnerable people and restoring human resilience.

Less Harmful Summit 2022 Toronto

The Less Harmful Summit is a full-day conference for health care practitioners featuring speakers who are advancing less harmful approaches to substance use and restoring human resilience.

This Event will include a beautiful breakfast, snacks, drinks, and lunch.

Speaker lineup

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Guy Fellicella - Integrating Harm Reduction and Recovery

Guy Felicella grew up in a middle-class home in Richmond but fell into addiction at a young age. He spent 30 years in the repeated cycle of gangs, addiction, treatment and jail.
Today, Guy has escaped the grips of the turmoil that kept him suffering and resides with his wife and three young children with multiple years of recovery and sobriety under his belt. Guy is passionate about advocating for the vulnerable people who still suffer in addiction and educating communities on harm reduction to eliminate the stigma that exists around it. Currently Guy works for Vancouver Coastal Health, Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction and the BC Centre on Substance Use. In addition, Guy attends various school districts and post-secondary institutions to educate students on addiction. Guy spent nearly his entire life suffering in addiction and now he is using his experience to change the hearts and minds of people to the idea that recovery is harm reduction and harm reduction is recovery.
Gone are the days where it’s either harm reduction or recovery; it’s both!

Mercedes Mwemera - Harm Reduction from a First Nations Perspective

Mercedes Mwemera is an Indigenous Cree Woman who became an advocate for her late sister, Justice Kent. After losing her sister to opioids, she became the co-founder of Justice for Justice Society; this was created in memory of Justice. Mercedes's experience shows that it is important for us as community members to open our eyes and see that our members are still the people who we grew up with -- we need someone to be on their team to remind them that they do matter. Mercedes is from a small reservation called Horse Lake First Nation in Alberta and is passionate about being a voice for Indigenous people. Her passion began when she received no help from the communities that surrounded her when it came to a healthy way of grieving her late sister. Instead of becoming angry and turning to an unhealthy way to deal with the loss, she became an advocate. She currently resides in Grande Prairie, Alberta with her husband where she is a Social Worker for Western Cree Tribal Council and facilitates Women’s Night in her home community of Horse Lake First Nation. 

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Dr. Sumantra (Monty) Ghosh, BSc,. MBT, MSc., MPH, MD, FRCPC, DM-EMDM, ISAM(C), CSAM

- Are Virtual, Supervised Consumption Services and Remote Overdose Monitoring Effective?

Dr. Monty Ghosh is an assistant clinical professor at both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta. An internal and addiction medicine practitioner, Dr. Ghosh specializes in patient advocacy and caring for people experiencing homelessness and addiction. He is also a lead researcher and policy advocate in these realms, both federally and provincially.

A few of Dr. Ghosh’s contributions to public health include co-founding a national, virtual supervised consumption service (www.nors.ca)), serving as deputy editor of Harvard Public Health Review, co-founding Alberta’s first comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment program, and creating a program in which people with lived experiences of substance use and homelessness help others navigate the health system. Dr. Ghosh was recently recognized for his contributions and leadership in the medical field as a 2021 recipient of the Canadian Medical Association's Award for Young Leaders (Early Career).

Dr. Alexandra King, MD, FRCPC -

Advancing Culturally Safe Care for HIV/AIDS and HCV Patients

Dr. Alexandra King, MD, FRCPC, is an Internal Medicine Specialist whose focus is HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and their co-infections. She’s a citizen of Nipissing First Nation in Ontario. Alexandra is the Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health and Wellness at the University of Saskatchewan. She is the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on numerous CIHR project grants working with Indigenous communities and serves on many Indigenous health organizations and committees. She works with Indigenous peoples and relevant stakeholders to understand First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples’ health and wellness needs and the structural changes needed for their improved health outcomes.

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Ann Dowsett Johnston - Less Harmful Drinking

Ann Dowsett Johnston is the bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, named by the Washington Post as one of the top 10 books of 2013. An award-winning journalist with more than 30 years experience, she has focused on women and alcohol since 2010, earning a broad range of honors, including an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University for her advocacy. Now a psychotherapist, she is also the founder of the memoir writing program Writing Your Recovery, helping other women tell their stories. 


Mark Henick, BA, MSc - Why We Choose Suicide

Having been viewed and shared millions of times, Mark Henick’s TEDx talk, Why We Choose Suicide, is among the most watched in the world. His talks are informed by his direct experience and explore his diverse and unique perspective as someone who has been a patient, professional, policy influencer, and public figure in the mental health system.  Henick released his first book, So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression, and Resilience, in 2021. Previously, Henick served as the youngest ever board director for the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the youngest ever president of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association  (CMHA) division. He has worked as a frontline clinician, program manager, and as National Director of Strategic Initiatives for CMHA.  Henick holds a Master of Science in child development and a Bachelor of Arts with honours in the interdisciplinary study of psychology and philosophy. He is currently completing graduate certificates in applied neuroscience at King’s College London and cognitive psychology at the University of Cambridge.

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Dr. John Oyston, MB BS, BMedSci, FRCA, FRCP(C) - Tobacco Harm Reduction Panel

Dr. John Oyston is a four time Chief of Anesthesiology, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, peer assessor for the College of Physicians Surgeons of Ontario, and founder of ‘Stop Smoking for Safer Surgery’. Dr. Oyston graduated in 1980 from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, with two degrees: a medical degree and a degree in medical research. He trained as an anesthesiologist from 1983 to 1990, qualifying as a specialist in both the UK and Canada and has, too, done anesthesiology work in New Zealand, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. In November 2020, Dr. Oyston retired from clinical practice to work on smoking cessation advocacy and vaping issues. Most recently, in May 2022, he delivered a presentation on ‘Vaping Disinformation in Canada’ at the Global Forum on Nicotine.

Todd Prochnau, BSc.Pharm, R.Ph, APA, CTE - Tobacco Harm Reduction Panel

Todd is a pharmacist who currently resides in Sylvan Lake, Alberta. Todd is a Certified Tobacco Educator (CTE) and has extensive experience practicing in a pharmacist-led tobacco cessation clinic. Todd currently works as a consulting pharmacist designing and presenting pharmacist continuing education mainly in relation to Tobacco Use Disorder. Todd is also an instructor in the pharmacy technician program in Red Deer, Alberta. Todd is also a past recipient of the Dean George A. Burbidge Award which is awarded annually to the individual with the top mark on the pharmacy licensing exam in Canada.

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Dr. Rob Sealey, B.Sc. M.D. - Medical Cannabis as a Novel Approach to Harm Reduction

Since 2001, Dr. Sealey has been involved in both the clinical and research aspects of medical cannabis including a substitution approach for other substances as a novel approach to harm reduction. This includes his participation in a North American task force that produced guidelines in the use of cannabis to help address the current opioid crisis. Given his experience, thousands of patients across Canada have been referred to Dr. Sealey for the consideration of cannabinoid-based therapy management in conditions that have not responded to standard therapy. Sensing a void in knowledge and misinformation regarding the use of medical cannabis in clinical practice, Dr. Sealey has also travelled around the world as an invited keynote speaker at numerous public and professional events.

Jeremy Kalicum - Co-organizer at Drug User Liberation Front

Jeremy Kalicum is a community-based activist and co-organizer of the Drug User Liberation Front. As a current public health student and researcher, Jeremy specializes in public policy as it relates to substance use. Previously, Jeremy worked as an FTIR drug checking technician in Vancouver's DTES and as a Director of BC's Provincial Drug User Network. Currently, with the Drug User Liberation Front, Jeremy is using direct action and civil disobedience to push for community-controlled access to a safe supply of drugs.

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Renée O’Leary, PhD

Renée O’Leary obtained her doctorate (Social Dimensions of Health, University of Victoria Canada, 2018) researching tobacco harm reduction. Her work in tobacco control began in 2005 and for the past nine years has focused on e-cigarette research. She is an External Researcher with the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction at the University of Catania (Italy). Renée is a specialist in literature review methodologies and has authored or co-authored 14 published reviews.

Don't miss this full-day conference featuring national health & wellness leaders!

Early Bird Tickets are on sale now!