Interview with … Bruno Ferrari, Dianova Canada

Get to know us better: an interview with Bruno, director general, Dianova Canada

What was your trajectory in Dianova?

I first entered the organization about thirty years ago and since then I had many different jobs before performing management positions essentially. I’ve been pretty much involved in the restructuring period of the Dianova network. As such, Dianova was born almost forty years ago; however, the organization as we know it today began to take shape back in 1998. At that time we had undertaken major reforms aiming at professionalizing and modernizing the Dianova network. It’s also been a period filled with many challenges and intense brainstorming sessions to redefine the organization’s fundamentals, its mission, vision and values.

How did you get to take care of the organization in Canada ?

warehouse Grand opening in Terrebonne The center's toilets Center of Terrebonne

I’m not Canadian, Quebec is the province where I met my wife Salina and started a family. Back in 98, before I came, the organization’s leadership was between the hands of Claude Arsenault – who is a much renowned addiction professional in Quebec – Claude made a great job in taking the first steps towards the organization’s professionalization process before retiring. Then Dianova Canada’s board of directors decided to publish the position externally and I took over from Claude eventually.

Was it a difficult period of time?

Claude had successfully accomplished the first half of the process before I took the reins of Dianova’s leadership to complete the second half. It was no easy time. We had to instill a new vision, a new way to do things and of course we had to fight some resistance movements, which are undoubtedly natural, however at that time we had to fully comprehend them. We went through a process of fairly drastic strategic reduction. The organization in Canada used to run a total of five therapeutic communities while today we only have three operational centers. However, unlike in the past, each of these centers has its own purpose, a well-defined strategy and clear objectives.

What is your greatest achievements to date?

Maison St-André

One of them was the successful relocation of our treatment center in Terrebonne, near Montreal. Before that, our center was some two hours’ drive from the Island of Montreal, that is. the area where most of our residents come from. In addition, the building we had in Quebec’s Laurentian region was totally unsuited to the country’s especially harsh winters and way too expensive to maintain. To make a long story short, we eventually moved all of our treatment activities in Terrebonne where we could find a very nice place, surrounded by nature. More specifically, we moved from a costly facility to a place with well-controlled operating costs while maintaining high standards as regards quality environment, supervision and equipment.

Our second source of great pride was that of diversifying our services. In this respect, I should say that the training activities maintained by Dianova International every year have inspired us a lot. At the end of one of Dianova’s “Managament & Development” sessions, I came back to Quebec with the desire to go much farther in the context of our mission. I finally made a proposal to Dianova’s board of directors and staff so as to develop social housing with community support services.

We started this activity in 2009 with the opening of a townhouse located downtown Montreal, “Maison Saint-andré’. Later, we acquired a second building in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, one of the city’s poorest districts, on the eastern half of the island. Once renovated, Maison Adam, our second rooming house, opened in September of this year, for a 21-person capacity.

What about your projects?

Maison Adam

We’ve just completed the refurbishment of our treatment facility and the construction of a warehouse; we’re then ready to do some strategic thinking with the staff and the Board of directors about our action in the coming years. During our last training session in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to engage in discussions with other participants and members of the Dianova Network and some very interesting prospects have appeared – in particular in regard to developing new bonds between the Dianova players in the American hemisphere.

As for Quebec, we have mentioned a number of projects, e.g. opening a rehab center on the island of Montreal, or at least an activity in connection with the addiction sector. This is one of the many ideas that will certainly keep us occupied for the coming years.

Opening year: 1989
Staff members: 18
Activities: addiction treatment, social housing


Residential drug treatment center (therapeutic community, support to detox)
Residential program: 40-person capacity (29 men, 11 women): 2013 occupancy rate: 76%
Multifunctional unit: 3-person capacity
User profile: men/women, > 18 years, dual diagnosis accepted if stabilized

Maison Saint-André Rooming House
Evaluation & Referral Services
Social housing with community support
20 fully equipped individual rooms, community support

Maison Adam Rooming House
Social housing with community support
21 fully equipped individual rooms, community support