People wait to enter the Safeworks supervised consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre in Calgary on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta delays identification requirements for supervised drug-use sites

Alberta delays identification requirements for supervised drug-use sites

CALGARY — The Alberta government is delaying implementation of one of its new rules governing supervised drug-use sites amid a legal challenge.

Under new regulations, service providers were to collect personal health numbers from clients, which critics argue will deter people who use substances from accessing the service.

Two non-profit groups — Moms Stop the Harm and the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society — recently filed a lawsuit against the province alleging the changes are unconstitutional and will worsen the growing overdose crisis.

Avnish Nanda, an Edmonton-based lawyer representing the groups, says service operators now won’t require health numbers from clients until Jan. 3, 2022.

The previous start date was Sept. 30.

Additional requirements laid out in the province’s supervised drug-use guidelines, including client referrals and physical site requirements, are still scheduled to come into effect at the end of this month.

Nanda says the groups welcome the government’s postponement of identification, but other changes still pose barriers.

The province did not immediately return a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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