Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention

Indigenous Students in the tipi

Program at a glance

Program code: 
Ontario College Diploma
Length of study: 
2 years*
Study options: 
Campus location: 
College Drive

Gain the skills and knowledge you need for employment in a variety of addictions settings through practical, hands-on learning. The curriculum is based on the holistic teachings of the Medicine Wheel, with a focus on the root causes of addiction within Indigenous communities. You will learn both cultural and mainstream approaches to addictions counselling. Traditional teachings will guide you through the physical, mental, social, cultural and spiritual elements of addiction as you learn vital assessment, intervention and recovery techniques for individuals, families, and groups. Training ranges from pharmacology to the dynamics of addiction to traditional methods including Sacred Circles, Teaching/Learning Circles, and the use of the four sacred medicines – tobacco, cedar, sage and sweet grass.


Postsecondary education is a strong catalyst for connecting Indigenous students to their culture, language and history. Our IWAP program is the only one of its kind in Ontario and focuses on the root causes of addiction in Indigenous communities. Each year, a culture camp is hosted, which brings together Indigenous elders and students to share in Anishinabe ceremonies that directly address wellness and healing in a holistic sense and from an Anishinabe centre.

Community and field placement opportunities are available!


Your Future Career

  • Addictions treatment centres
  • Community prevention programs
  • Young offender residential centres
  • Family resource centres

What You Learn

  • Dynamics of addiction
  • Prevention, intervention and relapse approaches
  • Traditional healing and medicines
  • Challenges facing Native communities
  • Interviewing, reporting, and documenting
  • Addictions counselling skills
  • Pharmacology

Admission Requirements: 

Program Prerequisites

OSSD or equivalent, ENG4C or ENG4U

Academic Upgrading Website



Semester One - Fall:

IWA 112 Traditional Healing, Learning, and Teaching

IWA 113 Introduction to Substance Abuse Counselling and Teaching

IWA 114 Contemporary Challenges Facing Native Communities

IWA 117Introduction to Cultural Specific Helping

SSW 100History and Philosophy of Social Work

CMM 125College Communications


Semester Two - Winter:

GENEDGeneral Education Elective - Online

CMM 230Workplace Communications

IWA 200 Substance Abuse in Families and Native Communities

IWA 204Introduction to Community Development

IWA 203 Methods - Using Traditional Healing to Break the Cycle of Abuse


Semester Three - Fall:


IWA 211Placement Preparation

MHA 235 Pharmacology for Mental Health and Addiction Worker

IWA 207Methods II - Recovery Strategies

IWA 208The Accountable Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention Worker

IWA 209Evaluating Information


Semester Four - Winter (Classes 7 wks / Placement 8 wks):

IWA 210Methods III - Relapse Prevention

MHA 242Concurrent Disorders

MHA 244The Legacy of Trauma

IWA 215Field Placement (8 weeks - 37.5 hrs/wk)


Flexible Exit Options

Exit with an Ontario College Certificate after one year or exit with an Ontario College Diploma after two years. The second year field practicum consists of an 8-week placement in a community based agency where students have hands-on training as they apply classroom learning to practice.

Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of information provided on our website. The College reserves the right to modify any course, program, curriculum, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time.


Learning Outcomes: 

Learning outcomes represent culminating demonstrations of learning and achievement. In addition, learning outcomes are interrelated and cannot be viewed in isolation of one another. As such, they should be viewed as a comprehensive whole. They describe performances that demonstrate that significant integrated learning by graduates of the program has been achieved.

View Program Vocational Learning Outcomes

Additional Credentials: 

First Nations Wellness and Addictions Certification Board Accreditation

Graduates of the IWAP program are eligible to become accredited through the FNWACCB. FNWACCB’S certification is rooted in the belief that Aboriginal communities have unique and legitimate healing needs that demand equally unique spiritual and philosophical approaches and solutions.


Transfer Opportunities

Graduates of the two year diploma program are awarded a maximum of 42 credits (approx. 1.5 years of advanced standing) towards the Honours Bachelor of Social Work in Native Human Services at Laurentian University.

Additional pathways exist with Algoma University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and Wilfred Laurier University and other institutions.

For the most up-to-date information please visit

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Additional Credentials
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Learning Outcomes