Bridge over a lake in Ontario

About Us

ONPUD- or Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs is a provincial association with a large and diverse membership of persons with lived/living experience who work on a multidisciplinary  team to inform and shape drug policy through advising, consultation, activism, and membership capacity building. We meet virtually weekly to connect with each other, hold space, create, and work on the many projects we have on the go. 


-The Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs works to inform and shape drug policy, through advising, offering consultation, activism, and member capacity building to ensure that the people with lived/living experience have a strong voice on policy, projects, discussions, and programs that impact our lives. 


-An Ontario where people who use drugs can thrive. 


-We believe and commit to uphold the following values in our work:

ONPUD Values

Board Members

Randy Roberts        
-Legacy Member- 

Randy is a founding board member, forever honorary member.  
Randy will be missed not only locally, but across the nation as his determination to change fatal drug policy led to his involvement in the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD) and Drug Policy work groups at the Dr. Peter Aids Center. Through that work Randy was able to speak to organizations across Canada and  impact operations at Overdose Prevention sites, Treatment and Consumption services, and meet other Drug User Group Leaders in Canada. Randy’s ability to advocate and mobilize, his tenacity to overcome adversity and integral to the realization that Ontario needed a strong group of PWUD to direct the response to drug poisonings. He directly contributed to the creation and success of the Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs (ONPUD), and the Brantford Substance Users Network who engaged in advocacy, harm reduction provision, access to Naloxone, community engagement events, and someone to talk to.  
Randy leaves behind a legacy of organizing and  mobilizing drug users that will be hard to fill and drug users across Canada grieve his loss. 

Nat Kaminski 

Nat Kaminski is from the Region of Peel where they work in harm reduction and founded the Peel Drug Users Network. Throughout their 20s and early 30s they also lived in London Ontario where they became embedded in poverty and experienced systemic violence being a person who; uses drugs, engaged in sex work and had history of incarceration. Most of Natalie’s friends that shared those experiences with them however are either; missing, murdered, dead or dying at the hands of failed policies and laws. Natalie is a white settler on turtle island and remains committed in their various roles; including mother, to dismantle the patriarchal, stigmatizing and oppressive systems that uphold and influence the policies that kill the people they love. 

Ashley Smoke 

Ashley Smoke is an Indigenous 2-Spirit person from Alderville First Nations whose Spirit Name is Gatherer of Medicines and their roles/responsibilities include Caring for the community, gathering medicines, holding the peace pipe and hunting . They are an advocate and activist for People Who Use Drugs as they have a vast experience with drug use and other intersections of marginalization. They came to this work out of distain for the way the system criminalizes and kills it’s most vulnerable members, and a need to correct it so future generations don’t have to go through the same trials and tribulations they had to. Ash helped found the Peel Drug User Network and recently founded Northumberland Drug Users Unite and is a member of The Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs. It is through these relationships that they helped to create ONPUD. Ash sits on a variety of advisory boards, is a researcher on a number Research Projects around Canada and does Public Speaking Engagements in order to educate people on the realities of Drug Use and the issues Drug Users face day-to-day.

Cassandra Smith

Cassandra Smith is the Knowledge Translation Lead at the Dr. Peter Centre, where she leads their National Harm Reduction Capacity-Building Community of Practice, as well as the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition’s Community Engagement and Education Coordinator for African, Caribbean, and Black communities. 

Cassandra is a Harm Reductionist, Facilitator and Researcher. As the former Manager of Harm Reduction and Community Engagement at the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, she has over 8 years of experience providing health promotion and harm reduction expertise to diverse communities, and supervising, training, and coaching harm reduction coordinators, staff, and peers. As a public speaker, she shares her personal lived experience and expertise being a racialized woman navigating systems such as; CAS, criminal justice system, health care, harm reduction and  mental health services. She speaks about overcoming obstacles and impacting and advocating for these communities at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. 

In 2022, Cassandra was involved in the development of the Harm Reduction fundamentals video series with CATIE. She collaborated in the development of a grief resource created by the AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario for the ACB community, ‘Locating Your Black Grief’. Her public speaking engagements include Toronto Children’s Aid Society’s ‘Journey to Zero’ launch and AGM, WHAI Women & Harm Reduction Webinar Series, Toronto Prisoner’s Rights Project “We Keep Each Other Safe” Workshops, Women and Shelters Canada Community of Practice and Stimulus Connect. 

Alongside Health Canada, Cassandra represented Civil Society Organizations in the Canadian delegation at the United Nations 65th and 66th Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2022 and 2023 in Vienna, Austria. 

Lindsay Jennings

Lindsay Jennings is a person who survived incarceration, homelessness,  substance use and intimate partner violence. She is the current Outreach and Program Coordinator at Rittenhouse, a transformative justice organization for those impacted by criminalization. She is also a research associate with Carleton University: Tracking IN Justice Project and at McMaster: Family Department of Medicine. Lindsay is a passionate and professional advocate for the Human and Health Care Rights of currently incarcerated individuals, and over the past years has been dedicated to addressing the preventable deaths in custody, and more ethical and supportive processes for the families and those impacted by death in prisons/jails.

“Grant me the patience to accept the systems I cannot change today, the courage to strategically enact progress when I know I can, and the wisdom to know that despite structural oppression I still can make a difference. “
Unknown Author 

Tonya Evans, PSC

Tonya has worked as a Peer Navigator for CMHA WW (Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington) for the past seven years. She works and lives in Guelph, ON. As a single mother on the Board of Directors for ONPUD, I bring a unique perspective shaped by my personal journey navigating the challenging healthcare system. Having experienced firsthand the stigma, judgment, and difficulties associated with substance use health and mental health, I am committed to fostering empathy and understanding. My role is not just about policy and strategy but also about amplifying the voices of individuals facing similar challenges, ensuring their stories shape our advocacy for a more compassionate and supportive approach.

Orville (he/him/they)

Orville (he/him/they) loves all people, but he prefers the happy, caring, gentle, thoughtful and less uptight kind. He has a passion for serving the African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) community and is currently a Harm Reduction Specialist and Team Lead. Orville’s work focuses on addressing intersecting issues facing the ACB community in Toronto; including anti-Black racism, HIV and substance use-related stigma and discrimination, homophobia, and otherbarriers to social inclusion and wellbeing. In his free time, he enjoys connecting with family and friends, music, the outdoors, meeting new people, travelling, smoking a well-made joint and other means of producing altered states of consciousness.

Greg Fergus World HIV/AIDS Day Red Ribbon event for MPs Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada / Président de la chambre des communes du Canada Ottawa, Ontario, on 01 December, 2023. © HOC-CDC Credit:Christian Diotte, House of Commons Photo Services

Greg Fergus

Living and working on the traditional lands of the Anishinabek Nation and the traditional territories of Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850, (now known as Oliver Paipoonge). Ken has worked in various settings, from consumer led mental health organizations, to outpatient counselling services, and a community Health Centre. Through Kens life, he has developed an empathy for others that directs him as a helper. His passion started when working at his local Shelter House, lighting a fire, and motivating his desire to continue working within his community. In Grade three, Ken received the “most determined” award. Although everyone received an award that year, it seemed this could be foreshadowing for his Youth Leadership and Community Hero awards. Ken believes it is these three qualities, (Empathy, Passion and Determination) that brought him to this work and to this organization. 

Vivre et travailler sur les terres traditionnelles de la Nation Anishinabek et sur les territoires traditionnels de la Première Nation de Fort William, signataire du Traité Robinson-Supérieur de 1850 (aujourd’hui connu sous le nom d’Oliver Paipoonge). Ken a travaillé dans divers milieux, allant d’organismes de santé mentale dirigés par des consommateurs à des services de counseling ambulatoire et à un centre de santé communautaire. Tout au long de sa vie, Kens a développé une empathie pour les autres qui l’oriente vers l’aide. Sa passion a commencé alors qu’il travaillait dans sa section locale Shelter House, allumant un feu et motivant son désir de continuer à travailler au sein de sa communauté. En troisième année, Ken a reçu le prix « le plus déterminé ». Bien que tout le monde ait reçu un prix cette année-là, il semblait que cela pourrait être une préfiguration pour ses prix de leadership jeunesse et de héros communautaire. Ken croit que ce sont ces trois qualités (empathie, passion et détermination) qui l’ont amené à ce travail et à cette organisation.

Leticia Mizon

Leticia Mizon is the President and Founder of peer-lead, harm reduction organization called ‘The Nameless’; based in her hometown of St. Thomas, ON. Leticia can also be found working as a frontline worker at ‘Unity Project for Relief of Homelessness’, an emergency shelter, where she has worked for the last 3 years. 

Leticia has been active in the local grassroots advocacy scene for 6+ years, navigating systemic oppression alongside peers, sitting on various boards, planning tables, coalitions, and actively participating in the shift from correction to connection. 
When not directly engaged in the fight for dignity and the right to take up space of people who use drugs, amplifying voices from the margins or supporting her community, she can be found at home with her incredible husband and two children, creating textile art for the world. 

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