The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will be pausing operations at the SafePoint safe consumption site pending the results of a provincial review.
The site has been open since April, using a budget mitigation fund as the health unit waited for approval and operational funds from the provincial government.
Now, the province has paused all new approvals pending the results of a safety review. The review was launched after a woman was shot near a safe consumption site in the Greater Toronto Area.
The health unit board voted unanimously to pause all future operations until funding is finalized.
"We have our core mandate and responsibilities and programming. We've extended ourselves within the year for the budget piece but now with the new budget that we have and the constraints we have for this year we can no longer do that," said Chief Executive Officer Ken Blanchette. "We are following their pause and we are hopeful, we are hopeful that the province investigation is quicker rather than a lengthy process"
Board Chair Fabio Costante said it was a difficult decision but ultimately the responsible one.
"I think that not having the site open is a loss for our community and I'm concerned that in the midst of a crisis that we're under, we're closing it," said Costante.
Since SafePoint opened at the end of April, there have been 859 client visits and 182 unique clients with no overdoses reported on-site
In October alone, there were 258 visits to the site.
SafePoint will pause all operations on January 1, 2024.