De Novo Treatment Centre holds its official inauguration for new Huntsville location



There were speeches. There was food. There were ribbon cuttings and a lot of laughter on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 as De Novo Treatment Centre officially celebrated its new home.

De Novo Trust Fund purchased the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment from the Town of Huntsville last year for just over $3.9 million and will move its addictions treatment facility from Sundridge to Huntsville.

De Novo, meaning new beginnings, is an alcohol and drug treatment centre operated as a partnership between management and unionized members of Ontario’s construction trades. The initiative began in Toronto in 1992 by United Association Local 46, representing plumbers, steamfitters and welders. “As a union contractor I want to thank our union partners for allowing contractors to become partners in this unique business model, allowing us to engage in the business of changing lives,” De Novo board member Larry Brokenshire, who is also Vice President of Aecon Industrial, told those present.

De Novo staff respond to a volunteer Board of Directors, which consists of ten representatives from participating unions and six contractor association representatives “working in unison for one common goal: We take care of our own,” said Brokenshire.

He also told those present that most contractors do not cover alcohol and drug addiction treatment through their health plans, but the De Novo funding model has changed that. Union members fund the program with two cents from every hour worked, which is matched by contractors through their industry association funds thereby making the program available to unionized workers, contractors and their families.

Executive Director of De Novo, Marie Lloyd, brought the idea of purchasing the building to the Board. She said the services at De Novo have been referred to as the gold standard of treatment and thanked her staff for their work. “It’s wonderful to be the team person that drives this bus, but we wouldn’t even get out of the parking lot without the team,” she told those gathered. Outside of their standard 35-day rehabilitation program, the staff at De Novo also offer support and education to families of clients affected by substance abuse. “The family program is currently running at capacity, every 35 days, and we’re hoping to increase this in the new facility as it will offer more people to attend more frequently,” she said.

De Novo Board Chair Patrick Dillon, who is also the Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, welcomed Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano who offered regrets on behalf of Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison, who she said had been unexpectedly called away to Toronto.

Accompanying Terziano were municipal staff and other councillors including Nancy Alcock, Dan Armour, Brian Thompson and Jonathan Wiebe. Terziano welcomed De Novo into the community. She said a few municipal representatives travelled to Sundridge and visited De Novo’s facilities there, where Lloyd answered all of their questions and gave them a tour.

“We know that De Novo is going to bring some economic addition to our town, new jobs, business for our local suppliers—all of that is great and we appreciate it but mostly we appreciate the fact that we’re going to have a new neighbour and a new neighbour that we think is going to be an amazing addition to this town,” said Terziano. “Congratulations on your opening and to extend to you the very warmest welcome to Huntsville, and we’re so glad you’re here.”

Dillon thanked Terziano and told those present that that’s been her approach from the start, very warm and accommodating, and said Huntsville CAO Denise Corry worked closely with De Novo at all hours to help them get a proposal in to council. “We overpaid a bit and we thought they’d give us something back but these councillors, they’re looking after their client base—the electors,” he laughed. “I think it was an all-around good deal for everybody and I think in any business that’s a good thing that everybody is reasonably happy at the end of the day that the deal got done.”

Lloyd told Doppler that De Novo currently has a staff of 21 people and once they move into the new facility they’ll be increasing their staff count to 30. Staff will officially move to Huntsville this Friday, January 11, 2019. In terms of security concerns, Lloyd said there are none. “It would be like a hospital where somebody had cancer, you wouldn’t ask them if they had a security concern and we don’t have any,” she said.

A release issued by De Novo states: “The new facility will initially provide residential treatment for up to 32 male and 8 female and offer clients a 12 Step approach to recovery, combined with modules to address life-skills and spiritual growth. The program also incorporates the Stages of Change model as a framework for clients to work through during their stay. Education and program content is presented in group sessions, local meetings or one-on-one sessions with a counsellor. Since opening its door, De Novo has treated over 4,000 men and 200 women from the unionized construction trades since 2002.”

You can find out more about De Novo at this link.

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  1. I quite realize that the Town could not reject a fair offer for the Waterloo building. It is unfortunate, however, that we have this outstanding service in our community, and only a small percentage of our constituents can avail themselves of their services. I wonder if a non-binding “memo of understanding” could have been appended to the sale contract; stipulating that De Novo would seek more space to provide treatment beyond the construction trades, if possible (perhaps partnering with the Muskoka-Parry Sound Addictions Health Services).

    • Hi Tanya,

      As stated in the article, DeNovo has treated 4,000 men and 200 women in unionized trades since 2002. This would indicate a ratio of (roughly) 95:5 based on gender. The new facility is 32:8 which would increase service to females in the trades by 400%. Also, this ratio reflects the dynamic within the trades that the facility serves rather than the population as a whole.

      This group is constantly striving to provide a fair service to the members they represent. The fact that the facility is at capacity would indicate that they are doing a tremendous amount of work and, with their past track record, have developed a successful model.

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