March 29, 2018



Approval of the Integration of Counselling Services between SMGH and House of Friendship

House of Friendship and St. Mary’s General Hospital are pleased to announce the approval of a proposed plan to voluntarily integrate addiction counselling services. This proposal was supported by the Waterloo Wellington Local Integration Health Network (WWLHIN) at its regular board meeting on March 28, 2018.

This voluntary integration will see addiction counselling services currently provided by St. Mary’s Counselling Services transferred to House of Friendship, a local not-for-profit leader in providing addiction services throughout the Region of Waterloo.

This integration of services (from counselling through to treatment) with one provider provides an opportunity to improve service delivery by:

  • Ensuring that existing services are maintained while increasing the ability to meet the more complex and varied needs of our community;
  • Increasing access to addiction counselling services for men, women and their families, within the Region of Waterloo, with the addition of Cambridge;
  • Providing increased ability for service participants to transition between different services and levels of care; and
  • Minimizing the duplication of services within our community.

As of June 1, 2018, House of Friendship will now provide these addiction counselling services to men, women and their families within Waterloo Region who suffer from problematic substance use, including alcohol and drugs, as well as problem gambling.

This plan has been developed through extensive consultation with the WWLHIN and builds on previous engagement with community stakeholders. Collectively, House of Friendship and St. Mary’s General Hospital have developed a comprehensive plan for the transfer of services.

“Now that this proposal has been passed by the WWLHIN board, we’re looking forward towards working with St. Mary’s General Hospital to ensure continuity of care for counselling clients,” said Pam McIntosh, Addiction Services Director, at House of Friendship. “We are honoured to have the opportunity to build on the great work of the counselling staff of St. Mary’s General Hospital.”

“We welcome the support from the WWLHIN and look forward to a smooth transition for our clients,” said Sherri Ferguson, Vice President Quality, People and Performance at St. Mary’s. “We are confident that clients will benefit from improved access to a wider range of services. It has been our honour to serve them over the years and we are very proud of our staff for their many contributions to the program.”

This voluntary integration of services aligns with the ongoing mission of the WWLHIN, to lead a high-quality, integrated health system for Waterloo-Wellington residents. Integrated health systems lead to better health outcomes and better patient experiences, with greater continuity of care.

House of Friendship and St. Mary’s General Hospital are committed to working closely during the integration, so that any participant in any recovery program today will experience a minimum of disruption and inconvenience. St. Mary’s Counselling staff will communicate with all current program and service participants personally, to provide the information they need to ensure clarity throughout the transition.

About House of Friendship

Founded in 1939, House of Friendship envisions a healthy community where everyone can belong and thrive. To fulfill this vision, House of Friendship walks with those in our Region who need food, housing, addiction treatment or vital community resources. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors, House of Friendship serves over 42,000 people who are living on low income or with a substance addiction.

About St. Mary’s General Hospital

Founded in 1924, St. Mary’s General Hospital’s vision is to be the safest and most effective hospital in Canada, characterized by innovation, compassion and respect. St. Mary’s is the second-largest acute care hospital in Kitchener and in the St. Joseph’s Health System. Core area of focus include: Cardiac Care (Regional Cardiac Centre); Respiratory Care (Level 1 Thoracic Surgery Centre); Outpatient Surgery; General Medicine; 24/7 Emergency Care; and Community Programs.


For more information contact:

Pam McIntosh

Addiction Services Director

House of Friendship

519-742-8327 extension 227 

Anne Kelly

Manager, Communications

St. Mary's General Hospital

519-749-6578 extension 1501