Civil society organizations release drug decriminalization platform for Canada


Published December 9, 2021 at 9:00 am

OTTAWA — Twenty-one organizations across the country have released Canada’s first civil society-led policy framework for drug decriminalization and redistributing resources from police to services that help communities most affected by the harms of policing.

The collaboration includes groups of people who use drugs, families affected by drug use, drug policy and human rights organizations, front-line service providers and researchers.

Their framework calls for funds that would flow to police to be invested instead in community-based organizations, services that promote harm reduction and address mental health issues, safe supply programs, and other forms of healing.

Donald MacPherson, executive director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, one of the contributors to the platform, says the framework’s proposed policy shift would help change a “historically cruel” application of criminal law that has harmed Canadians.

This national call comes days after the federal government tabled Bill C-5, which would repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug offences and some gun-related crimes, and would require police and prosecutors to consider alternative measures for cases of simple drug possession.

The organizations say in a statement that the government’s bill “is a step in the right direction, but doesn’t go far enough.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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