In December 1978, a group of people from Hearst, at the instigation of René Fontaine, formed a committee to study the possibility of opening a francophone treatment centre for alcoholics.
In 1979, the committee submits a proposal to the Cochrane District Health Council along with continuous letters to the Ministry of Health.
In June 1980, the CDHC recommends that the Hearst people form a regional committee (Hearst-Cochrane) and that they look at making recommendations for integrated services. The new committee was thus named: North Cochrane Drug and Alcohol Abuse Services Steering Committee.
At the time, our population had access to self-help groups and two residential centres that were operating with minimal provincial funding: Maison de Retour, a recovery home in Génier/Cochrane and Maison Renaissance in Hearst.
A first report submitted by Dennis Bernardi, Dan Salhani and Harold McKernin, would prove the need for comprehensive addiction services in the North Cochrane area.
With the help of Addiction Research Foundation (ARF) the local steering committee submits a proposal to the Cochrane District Health Council with a view to establish an outpatient Assessment and Referral Centre for the North Cochrane Region. Assessment and Referral centres were the trend at that time. The proposal is recommended for approval by the then, Cochrane District Health Council.
North Cochrane Addiction Services Inc. as it is named, will be one of 14 assessment and referral centres in Ontario. This new model is not without controversy and would be a first in the Cochrane District.