OTTAWA, May 18 2017 /CNW/ - Today marks a momentous step forward for Canadians in addressing the devastating impacts of the overdose crisis on their loved ones and communities across Canada. With the Royal Assent of Bill C-37, which amended the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and other acts, we now have additional tools and more flexibility to confront the factors underlying this crisis, while assisting those people on the front line in saving lives.
The Government of Canada is committed to an approach to this crisis that is comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based. We are pursuing a public health approach that also better equips law enforcement officials to reduce the harms associated with problematic substance use, including illegally-manufactured opioids.
With the passage of Bill C-37, we have streamlined the application process for communities that want and need supervised consumption sites. This new process fundamentally recognizes that, when properly established and maintained, supervised consumption sites save people's lives.
The new, simplified application form and process reduce the information burden on applicants, bringing it directly in line with the five key requirements spelled out by the Supreme Court of Canada. The process will be quicker and less cumbersome and will allow applicants to better respond to emerging health issues, while still protecting community health and safety.
Bill C-37 also includes measures to increase enforcement activities at the border to keep illicit substances, such as illegal opioids, out of Canada. This vital legislation strengthens our ability to stop the importation of unregistered devices used in the manufacturing of counterfeit opioids. It also gives officers at the border greater ability to protect the safety of Canadians by allowing them, under reasonable grounds, to open international mail weighing 30 grams or less. A 30 gram package could contain enough fentanyl to make as many as 15,000 fatal doses.
These are just two examples of the types of important measures that are now in place to help address this crisis. For more information, please visit Canada.ca/Opioids.
No one action, and no single piece of legislation, will solve this crisis before us. However, the passage of this bill is a significant step that, together with the efforts of many others, will help us to turn the tide.
SOURCE Health Canada
For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Scott Bardsley, Office of Minister Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, (613) 998-5681; Media Relations, Health Canada, (613) 957-2983