The Quebec government will invest $12 million over three years to create and open safe drug injection sites in Montreal.

Part of the funding will go toward converting three community organizations — Cactus, Dopamine and Spectre de rue — into designated supervised injection sites that offer a clean and safe location for drug users.

The money will also help create a mobile unit that will offer the same services to a few boroughs across Montreal.

The CIUSSS-Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, the regional health agency in the city's Centre-Sud neighbourhood, has started listing job postings for nurses for the three potential safety injection sites.

Lucie Charlebois, the Quebec minister for public health, said it's only a question of time before Montreal opens its first safe injection site.

"We're at the final stage," she told Radio-Canada. "Because we've done all the work related to installations, because we're posting jobs, it means that we're moving forward with great speed."

She added that everyone involved is working to make sure that the centres meet the criteria set out by Health Canada in order to open as soon as possible.

Carole Morissette, the medical chief of Montreal Public Health, said once the criteria outlined by Health Canada is met, Quebec can request federal approval for the safe injection site to open.

"This request for exemption means we send in curriculum vitae and the certificates of good conduct for the staff who will work in the centre and, finally, a visit from Health Canada on the premises once they are completed," Morissette told Radio-Canada.

The centres could open and provide care as soon as this winter or spring 2017.

With files from Radio-Canada