Portage’s History in Québec
In the late 1960’s, a group of Montréal residents, preoccupied by the increasing rates of drug addiction in the city, came together to develop a solution to this significant social problem.
This grassroots committee founded Portage in 1970. The name, Portage, is a metaphor for the rehabilitation process: finding a pathway around an obstacle in order to continue one’s journey. With funding from the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, Portage’s first residential rehabilitation centre opened on February 14, 1973, in the town of in Prévost, near lac Écho
in the Laurentians Mountains of Québec.
Since its inception, in 1973, the Portage Foundation
has received over $25 million from private sources for Portage’s various treatment and rehabilitation programs.
In 1975, Portage opened a Head Office in Montréal and created a Day Centre for non-residential drug treatment as well as a Family Services Program
. Another Day Centre was opened in Québec City
in 1983, where the Employment Reintegration Program
was later formed in 1986.
Portage’s first Adolescent Program
in Québec was established at the Portage centre in Prévost, near lac Écho
in 1991, based on the Portage Program already established in Elora, Ontario
. As the demand grew for drug rehabilitation services for young people, Portage opened another adolescent centre in the Québec City region, in Saint-Damien-de-Buckland (which has since moved to Saint-Malachie
in 2009). In 2001, a centre for English-speaking adolescents was established in Beaconsfield
in the West Island of Montréal.
Portage expanded its service offering in Montréal by introducing a residential rehabilitation program for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers (MICA)
in 1995 with the financial support of the EJLB Foundation, and a residential drug treatment program for pregnant women and mothers with their young children
in 1996, a first of its kind in Canada.
In 2002, the MIRE Program (Movement for Integration and Retention in Employment)
was established in Montréal in collaboration with the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon