Portage ON newsletter_Outward Bound canoe 2010

Outward Bound canoe trip incorporates Art Therapy components

Portage ON newsletter_Outward Bound canoe 2010 Art Therapy_sPortage Elora’s Outward Bound Coordinator took graduating residents on three separate canoe and camping trips to Algonquin Park this summer as part of the final stage of their rehabilitation program.  The excursion is an important element of the Portage Program, providing residents with the chance to reflect on their Portage experience while surrounded by nature and to prepare themselves for their return to society with a new lease on life.

On the most recent trip in August, a new twist was introduced to the Outward Bound Program.  An Art Therapist joined the group and led the residents in several workshops.  The participants really enjoyed the new program, affirming that the combination of nature and art helped them to express their feelings in new ways. 

Addiction Recovery Awareness Month in Ontario

During the month of September, hope for recovery from addiction is being celebrated throughout the province of Ontario.  Addictions Ontario launched a campaign to spread the message that help is available to people who are suffering with addiction, and that they too can turn their lives around by seeking drug addiction rehabilitation treatment.

Portage Ontario is a leader in the field, with an evidence-based approach to successful residential addiction treatment for youth.  Portage has been running adolescent drug rehabilitation programs for more than twenty years and has helped over 4,000 Ontario youth return to society as productive and contributing citizens.  Within the therapeutic community approach, residents are encouraged to help each other get well.  

Several studies and research projects have been done that validate the effectiveness of the Portage treatment approach.  

Most recently, a formal research project was carried out from January 2003 to October 2008 on the adult and adolescent residents who spent more than fifteen days in therapy at Portage’s Lac Écho centre in Québec.  It was performed under the direction of Dr. Serge Brochu and Louis-Georges Cournoyer of the Université de Montréal.

The research demonstrates that:

•    After treatment at Portage, there is a high rate of sustained sobriety- excellent results in a field where relapse is expected;
•    After treatment at Portage, there is a significant reduction in the use of hard drugs;
•    After treatment at Portage, clients can better contribute to and participate in the community, which leads to harm reduction and increased benefits for society;
•    The longer the length of time in therapy, the greater the success.

Read more…


Portage Awareness Evening

Portage Ontario’s second annual Awareness Reception will take place in Toronto on November 16th, 2010 at 6:30 pm.  Come and learn how the Portage rehabilitation program is saving lives, families, and communities. For more information, please contact Jennifer Blunt at jblunt@portage.ca



Portage Elora’s garden has been thriving!
Throughout the summer, residents and staff have been maintaining the vegetable garden they planted several months ago.  Many of the plants have now been harvested and enjoyed, notably the sweet tomatoes and abundant zucchini.  The residents even baked zucchini bread!  This garden project has helped residents learn the value of self-sufficiency.

Getting through those hot summer days
Portage Elora residents have been taking frequent trips to the nearby swimming gorge for relief from the summer heat.



Portage Elora residents, graduates, staff, and Ontario Board Members speak about how Portage helps Ontario youth seek Freedom from Addiction.


Portage ON newsletter_Elora centre 2

 “My life had spiraled out of control because of my substance abuse. I had lost everyone and everything I loved and was living a dangerous lifestyle.  When I was admitted to Portage, it was the scariest day of my life, but definitely the best choice I ever made.  I’m now a Caseworker at Portage Elora.  I think it’s important that I know where the residents are coming from, that I can relate to them, that I understand all the feelings that they’re going through. In the end, I can always assure them that this program has changed my life and that it can do the same for them.”
–    Jennifer Andrews, Portage Elora Caseworker and former resident

Back to school! Residents return to Portage Academy

Portage ON newsletter_Portage AcademyAlthough there has been a summer school running for the past few months, Portage Elora residents are now officially back to school for the fall semester at Portage Academy.

Helping youth get their education back on track is an important component of the Portage Program. All centres for adolescents offer mandatory on-site high school programming that is adapted to the needs of the residents.  At Portage Elora, six on-site teachers from the Upper Grand District School Board deliver self-paced learning programs with small-sized classroom support.  While most Portage residents have struggled with school in the past and many have abandoned their studies altogether, Portage Academy helps them rediscover their academic abilities and reawakens the drive to complete secondary school.  Many residents even to go on to post-secondary studies.
Read more…

Celebrating the staff at Portage

Portage is very proud of the quality of its personnel at the Portage centres across Canada, many of whom have been with the organisation for a long time.  To celebrate and show appreciation for the dedication and hard work of its employees, Portage has recently established an Employee Recognition Program.

The program recognises staff members who have been carrying out the Portage mission for over five years, marking each five year anniversary with a commemorative pin.  Those who have been with the organisation for over ten years also receive a small gift (and for every five-year mark that follows).

Employees are at the very heart of Portage’s mission, contributing immensely every day to the rehabilitation process of our residents. 

The following five people, who have devoted over 25 years to Portage, are of particular note:

Portage bulletin_Peter Vamos.jpgPeter Vamos
Executive Director
36 years of service

Portage bulletin_Sonia Leblanc.jpgSonia Leblanc
Unit Manager – External services
32 years of service

Portage bulletin_Ghislaine Daigneault.jpgGhislaine Daigneault
Accounting Clerk – Lac Écho
31 years of service

Portage bulletin_Louis Hodess.jpgLouis Hodess
Clinical Advisor
29 years of service

Portage bulletin_Robert Perron.jpgRobert Perron
Accreditation Coordinator
25 years of service


Portage across Canada
Portage is accredited!

                                            News_Accreditation2.jpgPortage is pleased to announce that its rehabilitation services are now accredited by Accreditation Canada.  This recognition is the culmination of a process that started in 2007, which sought to obtain certification for the quality of services provided at Portage, the capabilities of its employees, and the managerial expertise of the organisation.

The four surveyors from Accreditation Canada who visited the participating Portage centres during the week of June 7-11 were especially struck by the dedication, involvement, and creativity of the staff.  They noted Portage’s continuous quest for best practices and its approach based on the needs of residents and their families as among the organisation’s greatest strengths.  

Portage is pleased to have participated in the accreditation process and is committed to maintaining the standards that have earned this certification, while continuously bettering its service in all areas.

The only Portage site to have yet to obtain accreditation is the centre in Keremeos, BC, which was established after Portage’s accreditation process had begun.  The Keremeos centre will be accredited sometime next year.

Portage across Canada
GAIN Program update

Portage is currently in the process of preparing for the implementation of the GAIN (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs) system for the assessment of all new residents.  Staff training is moving along rapidly and the technical preparations are in process.  The GAIN is an evidence-based assessment technique that has received widespread recognition.  It will replace the IGT assessment, providing Portage with a more powerful tool for the initial establishment of each new resident’s treatment plan.


For admissions information, please contact our centre in Elora, Ontario:
Tel. 519-846-0945
Fax 519-846-5703

For the Portage Ontario Board, Campaign, and volunteer activities, please contact:

Jennifer Blunt
Director of Development, Portage Ontario


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Portage is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping people who are suffering from substance abuse-related problems to overcome their dependencies and to live healthy, happy and productive lives. Portage is a vital and progressive force in the drug addiction treatment field in North America, with service centres in Québec, New Brunswick, Ontario, and British Columbia. Through drug addiction treatment best practices and the therapeutic community approach, Portage helps residents develop their self-esteem, confidence, and the competencies necessary to overcome addiction.

Portage has been operating drug rehabilitation centres in Canada for over 35 years.  Portage Ontario was established in 1985.

Read more about Portage’s mission, vision, and values.

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