About Amethyst Ottawa


Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre was founded in 1979 after a group of concerned community members identified the need for services that addressed the unique needs of women who used substances. Amethyst was the first addiction treatment centre of its kind, in that the services provided incorporated a gender-based analysis in order to recognize the specific ways in which women experience substance use and addiction. Since that time, Amethyst has evolved through many incarnations to meet the ever-changing needs of women in our community.

Some of the highlights of Amethyst’s history include:

  • the incorporation of prevention work (Health Promotion) in order to provide a more complete continuum of care to women and children in their own communities in Ottawa, thereby reducing barriers to service in multiple ways;
  • the establishment of a satellite location in Kanata in order to offer service to women in the western communities of Ottawa, including rural areas;
  • shifting and evolving organizational governance models to better reflect feminist values and knowledge, including our most recent “modified collective”
  • the establishment of a Francophone Treatment Program in order to provide quality service to Francophone women in Ottawa;
    the establishment of a Sexual Abuse Support Program that helps women explore the links between their experiences of sexual abuse and addiction;
  • the establishment of a Problem Gambling Program in both English and French to respond to the growing demand for service and information among women who have concerns about their gambling, as well as among allied professionals who also work with women who problem gamble;
  • the establishment of more specialized services for women who are pregnant and/or parenting

For a more detailed history of Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, Here’s To You Sister, Creating a Women’s Addiction Service: Amethyst’s Story can be purchased. This publication tells the story of Amethyst from the perspective of those involved: clients, staff, board members and volunteers. Here’s to You Sister documents the philosophical background to Amethyst’s work, programs and services that have been offered, as well as structural issues unique to women’s organizations. To order a copy or for more information about our history, please contact info@amethyst-ottawa.org.

Mission, Philosophy, and Vision

Our Mission: Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre offers alternative addiction services to women. Amethyst is committed to working with diverse and marginalized groups of women. Our aim is to support women, individually and together, to take control of factors affecting our health and well-being.

Our Philosophy: Amethyst is grounded in the feminist belief that women’s experiences with alcohol, drugs, and gambling cannot be separated from our experiences and status as women. We make direct links between the unequal position of women in society, the various forms of violence against women and substance use and/or problem gambling. A central task of Amethyst is to help women take charge of their lives by ending substance use and/or problem gambling and by making changes that enhance their strengths, their freedom and their choices.

Our Vision: Amethyst aspires to equality and justice for all women. A health service concerned with prevention as well as direct service, Amethyst works toward changing unjust social structures that place women at risk of addiction. We address and communicate the specific ways in which substance use and/or problem gambling affect women’s well-being and why social change is necessary.

Funding and Partnerships

Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre is funded primarily by the Champlain Local Health Integration Network. However, we also receive funding for a small percentage of our programming from the United Way of Ottawa. As is the case with most social service agencies though, we also rely on the generosity of individuals and various other funding sources to augment our base funding.

In order to continue to meet the needs of our community, we also often work in partnership with various community organizations to provide unique programming. For example, we regularly work in partnership with various community health and resource centres, as well as organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association and Artswell.

Amethyst also receives grants from time to time. In 2021-22, Amethyst is the recipient of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant through the Resilient Communities Fund.

For further information about our funding and partnerships, please contact info@amethyst-ottawa.org.