Submission to Toronto Board of Health on Toronto Overdose Action Plan: Status Report 2021 (June 3, 2021)

We make this submission to inform the Board of Health’s consideration of the June 3, 2021 Report from the Medical Officer of Health, and in particular, the Medical Officer of Health’s recommendations that the Board of Health “reiterate its call urging the Federal Minister of Health to use the authority under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to permit the simple possession of all drugs for personal use” and to “…request the Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the Executive Director, Social Development, Finance and Administration and other relevant City divisions, to convene a working group to develop a health- and social equity-based alternative approach to criminal sanctions for the possession of all drugs for personal use within the city environs, as a step towards requesting an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, with such working group to be comprised of the following:

a. people with lived and living experience of drug use and family members;
b. community-based service providers, including Black- and Indigenous-led agencies;
c. relevant City divisions and agencies, including law enforcement; and
d. policy and research experts in relevant areas, including substance use, human rights,
and mental health.”

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