What Is The WINS Project?

The WINS Project (“Working to Improve Neighbourhood Safety”) is a partnership between the Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, Sanguen Health Centre, and the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo. The program initially was launched in Cambridge in April 2018 as a pilot project. It was a successful endeavour and as a result phase 2 of the pilot will see it expanded to include Kitchener and Waterloo while continuing to operate in Cambridge.

Peer Outreach Workers, with lived or living experience, are hired and trained to safely find and dispose of improperly disposed syringes, while providing education about safe disposal, and facilitating connections to provide positive outcomes within the community. They focus on areas most impacted by improper sharps disposal.

Why Sanguen?

Sanguen Health Centre is passionate about harm reduction – we’ve had a strong harm reduction program in place since 2011. Through this program, our agency has successfully recruited, trained, and utilized Peer Outreach Workers to work in numerous locations across Waterloo Region, including Cambridge. We love our Peer Workers!

Sanguen is also passionate about keeping our communities safe; this includes the need to prevent and remedy improper harm reduction supply disposal. Our staff are part of several harm reduction-focused committees in Waterloo Region, including the Harm Reduction Disposal Working Group, and we provide education and training focused on harm reduction throughout the Region.

How Does The WINS Project Work?

Specially-trained Peer Workers are out in the community regularly, following predetermined routes, to seek out and properly dispose of harm reduction supplies. These routes are created based on a number of factors and the input of numerous agencies and groups. The team does not take calls directly from the public for disposal issues – those concerns should still be directed to the Cities.

What do you do if you find a needle?

It is important that people continue to call 519-575-4400 if they find a needle. They will be provided with information about what to do.

Teach children to never touch a needle and to tell an adult if they see one.

Safely picking up a needle can be quick and easy. Instructions are available on the Public Health website or by calling 519-575-4400.

People who find a needle in Cambridge can also be directed to this website: Cambridge Safe Needle Disposal or can contact cleanup@cambridge.ca or by phoning (519) 623-1340.

People who find a needle in the City of Waterloo on city-owned property can contact sharpscleanup@waterloo.ca or by phoning (519) 886 1550. Trained staff in sharps removal/discovery will then respond and remove the sharp.