STATEMENT: CIVIL SOCIETY APPLAUDS CITY OF MONTRÉAL DECRIMINALIZATION MOTION

STATEMENT: CIVIL SOCIETY APPLAUDS CITY OF MONTRÉAL DECRIMINALIZATION MOTION

The following can be attributed to Richard Elliott, Executive Director, HIV Legal Network. 

January 26, 2021 – Montréal – The Montréal city council today passed a motion to call on the Government of Canada to decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use. We at the HIV Legal Network applaud this initiative and congratulate all who fiercely advocated for it. We are proud to stand among you. 

 

Today’s motion joins the growing call for decriminalization in municipalities across the country, including Toronto (Board of Health), Vancouver, and numerous others. Cities now recognize the many harms of criminalization, which marginalizes people who use drugs and pushes them away from harm reduction efforts. Removing the threat of criminal law will allow people who use drugs to do so more safely. Lives will be saved.

 

We urge the City of Montréal to follow through on this motion by requesting an exemption from the Government of Canada under Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as the City of Vancouver did last month

 

We urge the Government of Canada to issue such an exemption to any municipality that requests it — and to further act to decriminalize drugs across this country. Lives are at stake and there is no reason to wait. Criminalization contributes to the public health crises of HIV, HCV, and overdose, and now COVID-19 is making things even worse.

 

Other jurisdictions should follow suit. It’s time to change bad laws and policies and save lives.

 

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Download our primer, which outlines why and how provincial and municipal governments should request such an exemption: http://www.hivlegalnetwork.ca/site/decriminalizing-people-who-use-drugs-a-primer-for-municipal-and-provincial-governments/?lang=en 

 

Media Contact:

Janet Butler-McPhee, Director of Communications and Advocacy, HIV Legal Network

Mobile: 647-295-0861    Email: jbutler@aidslaw.ca

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