Statement from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Statement from the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health


Statement

May 17, 2024 | Ottawa, Ontario | Health Canada

The overdose crisis is one of the most serious and unprecedented public health threats in Canada’s recent history. It is driven by the illegal drug supply, which is unpredictable, rapidly changing and growing increasingly toxic. To address this crisis, we need a full continuum of supports across prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement, while ensuring a careful balance between public health and public safety.

Today, Minister Saks has refused the request, as proposed from Toronto Public Health, to decriminalize personal possession of controlled drugs and substances for people in Toronto. She has determined that it does not adequately protect public health and maintain public safety. This includes concerns with feasibility and ability for law enforcement to implement the proposed model, protection of youth, and lack of support from key players including the Province of Ontario.

This government remains committed to addressing substance use and addiction as a health issue. All partners must work together to make available and accessible health and social supports so that we can divert people from the criminal justice system into the healthcare system.

Our government will continue working in partnership with all provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities, and experts to determine the best ways to support the health and well-being of people who use substances and help reverse this toxic drug and overdose crisis. We remain committed to taking a public health approach to this crisis and keeping everyone in our communities safe.

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, P.C., M.P.

Contacts

Yuval Daniel

Press Secretary

Office of the Honourable Ya’ara Saks
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
819-360-6927

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983
media@hc-sc.gc.ca



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