This pilot project is a province-wide and nationally=supported collaboration intended to add value to existing monitoring and surveillance exercises that currently exist and are being developed in Canada. The fundamental aim is to create a system that generates a timely flow of data on hazardous patterns of substance use and related harms so as to inform public debate, to support effective policy, and to facilitate policy-relevant epidemiological research. Pilot and feasibility exercises have been conducted in relation to developing consistent questions in surveys of general and special populations, treatment system data, data on the contents of drugs seized by police, interviews with police, rates of alcohol and other drug mortality and morbidity, alcohol sales data, and data from the emergency departments. Wherever possible, links with the equivalent national data collection processes have been established to create consistencies. This article provides a general overview of the BC pilot monitoring system and discusses some potential advantages of planning and designing a comprehensive system with built-in consistencies across data collection elements.