Our Mission

EKASS is dedicated to providing free, comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment and support services in the East Kootenay region. Our mission is to:

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    Support individuals struggling with addiction to address the root causes and facilitate their journey toward healing and recovery
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    Offer support and resources to those affected by a loved one’s addiction
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    Ensure access to medically assisted therapy and innovative treatment options
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    Advocate for and educate the public, policymakers, and healthcare professionals on the latest research in addiction prevention and treatment
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    Collaborate with community partners to enhance the effectiveness of our services and create lasting change

Our Vision

We envision thriving, resilient communities in which individuals and families dealing with addiction are fully supported into recovery.

Our Values

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Our Team

The staff at East Kootenay Addiction Services have a passion for supporting our clients to make positive changes in their lives. Our team is located in six offices in the East Kootenay region; Fernie, Golden, Invermere, Creston, Cranbrook, and Kimberley. For a listing of our staff and contact information, please click on Contact Us at the top of this page.

Our Board

Established in 1978, our Board of Directors helps guide the activities of East Kootenay Addiction Services Society’s programs and policies. Our board is a dedicated group of 5 community-minded volunteers who meet monthly to address the needs of the organization.

Shawna LaRade


Shawna and her family have lived in the Cranbrook area for the past 13 years. Shawna is a Professional Agrologist who is passionate about people, her community, and the environment. Shawna recognizes that mental health and well-being are something we all strive for, for both ourselves and the people we care about. Shawna brings a diverse background in board governance, provincial government operations, and social advocacy. She looks forward to the opportunity to be part of a team that provides strategic direction and governance to EKASS.

William McKerrow


Hello all. My name is William McKerrow and it’s an honor and privilege to sit on the Board of Directors for the East Kootenay Addiction Services. I moved to the Cranbrook area 14 years ago and work for Interior Health Mental Health and Substance Use program. I am also in recovery from alcohol addiction with over 17 years of continuous sobriety. I have a passion for working in this field with people with mental health and addiction issues. I look forward to helping build a robust board with a focus on supporting our population going forward.

Deb Sims


Deb has lived in the Cranbrook area for about 25 years having haled from the eastern part of Canada before moving west. Deb has worked the majority of that time in the addictions/mental health field for EKASS. Deb comes from a nursing/counseling background and has a heart for the loss. Previously, Deb has sat on the ANKORS board and The Cranbrook Hep C Society board when it established itself in Cranbrook. Deb is married to Larry and they share 6 children and 7 grandchildren. Deb recently transitioned away from EKASS to the Spiritual Care Team at the Dwelling Place Church in Cranbrook where she provides one on one counseling, facilitates healing groups, and makes referrals to faith-based treatment options for people wanting recovery. Deb works from a place of compassion providing hope and encouragement and direction to move people to a place of healing and restoration through faith-based practice.

Polly Sutherland

Vice Chair

Polly is employed with ANKORS East Kootenay office as the Team Lead and Harm Reduction Coordinator. Polly has a deep passion for working with vulnerable populations and people who use substances including youth and adults. Polly comes to this work with her own story of resiliency and strength which has led to a commitment to support folks within the East Kootenay. She has a deep abiding respect for the staff at EKASS where she has collaborated on many projects. Polly comes to the table with a commitment to share knowledge and support the EKASS team. When she is not talking about Harm Reduction, she is honoured to be hunting, X-country skiing and kayaking in the beautiful Kootenay Region.

Lisa Murphy


I live in Fernie and I’m originally from New Zealand. I came here for a ski season 18 years ago and never left this magical place that captured my heart. I joined the EKASS board from the desire to serve my community in a way meaningful to me, as substance use and mental health have touched my life personally and profoundly. I am passionate about breaking down the stigma around mental health and substance use. I believe in humanity, and open and honest conversations and substance use, sharing our stories, applying grace and compassion and into getting resources to the hands and lives of the user, their family and friends. My first hand experience with a loved one has led me to have a heart filled with empathy for everyone who has substance use touch their lives. I feel honored to be able to take my story, passion and skills to serve and support the people on the front line in our community in addiction services. I have never served on a board of directors up until now so this is also something new and exciting for me! I have worked with a number of nonprofits in a variety of fields over the last 13 years through my work as an accounting technician and bookkeeper. I love my dog, snowboarding, hiking, and my amazing community who I consider my Canadian family.

Our Financial Statements

Funded by Interior Health

Our new website was made possible with the support of Columbia Basin Trust.