CALGARY — Aimed at improving access to mental health supports and addiction prevention and recovery services, the province named a 23-member advisory council Monday.

The Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council will “develop a strategy outlining recommended actions to increase quality and access to a recovery-oriented mental health and addiction system, with a particular focus on treatment, recovery and justice programs,” according to a release.

The group will present a final report to the province in summer 2020.

“Our government is committed to a recovery-oriented system of care that is fair, firm and compassionate,” said Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan in a release.

“We want to eliminate barriers to recovery and give hope to people facing mental health and addiction challenges.”

The province is investing $100 million over four years to improve mental health and addiction services in Alberta along with $40 million into an opioid response strategy and $20 million into palliative care. The province is also spending $6 million on a sexual assault hotline and is investing $1 million per year for the next four years on the Health Quality Council of Alberta.

“We will strengthen the recovery continuum and give hope to Albertans who are struggling with mental illness and addiction,” said panel co-chair Pat Nixon.

“Recovery will take a front seat in our journey to a healthy and prosperous Alberta.”

The 23-member panels include:


  • Co-chair: Pat Nixon, founder, Mustard Seed
  • Stacey Petersen, executive director, Fresh Start Recovery Centre
  • Jacen Abrey, Blood Tribe Fire and EMS director, and councillor for Town of Coaldale
  • Andy Crooks, lawyer/lived experience
  • Nick Mitchell, senior medical director, AHS
  • Rob Davidson, Calgary Police Service
  • Benny Xu, traditional Chinese medicine doctor
  • Bruce Edgelow, founder and managing partner, Edgemark Capital
  • Brad Cardinal, executive director, Poundmakers Lodge
  • Ray Baker, addiction medicine expert

Mental health:

  • Co-chair: Laureen MacNeil, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Calgary region
  • Police Chief Dale McFee, Edmonton Police Service
  • Xin-Min Li, professor and chair, department of psychiatry, University of Alberta
  • Allison Bichel, senior provincial director, AHS
  • Curtis Stange, president and CEO, ATB Financial
  • Karen Gosbee, mental health advocate
  • Sally Zhao, CEO, the Immigrant Education Society
  • Whitney Issik, MLA, Calgary-Glenmore


  • Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health
  • John Cabral, ADM, mental health and addiction
  • Sherri Wilson, ADM, public health and compliance/opioid crisis
  • Bill Sweeney, ADM, public safety
  • Peter MacKinnon, ADM, population, public and Indigenous health