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June 02, 2017

Health Canada Authorizes Three New Supervised Consumption Sites in Toronto

Brooklyn McNeil

Brooklyn McNeil advocated for Supervised consumption sites but died of an overdose days before the service is expected to be approved. A new award in his memory was launched at Harm Reduction International Conférence 2017 in Montréal.


Our government remains committed to combatting the current overdose epidemic and to taking swift action that will help save the lives of Canadians. Responding to this crisis requires a whole-of-society approach. No single action is going to put an end to the mounting number of overdoses occurring across the country, and it is crucial that we work together and continue to explore new ways to help us reverse the course of this crisis.

Today, Health Canada granted the necessary exemptions from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for the operation of three new supervised consumption sites in Toronto. The sites are planned to be located at Toronto Public Health’s The Works, the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

International and Canadian evidence demonstrates that, when properly established and maintained, supervised consumption sites save lives without increasing drug use or crime in the surrounding area. The evidence also shows that they decrease infections and the transmission of communicable disease, and can also decrease the use of emergency departments, as well as hospital admissions related to injection drug use.

Bill C-37, which received Royal Assent on May 18, 2017, streamlines the application process for supervised consumption sites, without compromising the health and safety of clients, staff, or the surrounding community. This reduces the information burden on applicants and speeds up both the application and renewal processes. Applicants can now be assured that the process will not cause any unreasonable burden or delay.

Our Government’s approach to this crisis continues to be comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate, grounded in evidence, and firmly dedicated to saving lives and protecting the health and safety of Canadians.

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