New rules imposed on drug-injection sites

OTTAWA — The federal government has introduced tough new rules for supervised drug injection sites, in a move some see as an effort to deter such facilities.

OTTAWA — The federal government has introduced tough new rules for supervised drug injection sites, in a move some see as an effort to deter such facilities.

The government says it’s a response to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ordered the Conservatives to keep a Vancouver clinic open against their will.

But NDP health critic Libby Davies said the government is effectively blocking any chance of setting up a new clinic.

The new legislation would require advocates of new clinics to meet two dozen specific criteria before they can apply to open a new clinic. Among other things, they would have to canvass community opinion and gain the support of provincial and municipal authorities.

The health minister would then make the final decision.

As Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq tabled her bill on Thursday, she made it clear which way she will lean.

“Our government believes that a site involving the use of illicit substances should be strictly controlled to protect everyone in the community,” she told reporters.

“Accordingly, we believe that the application process needs to be changed to create formal opportunities for local voices to be heard and their views considered before an exemption would be considered.”

The Conservative Party immediately followed up with a plea to party supporters to sign a petition to “keep heroin out of our backyards.”

In a note attached to the petition, Conservative Party operations director Jenni Byrne says, “special interests are trying to open up these supervised drug consumption sites in cities and towns across Canada — over the objections of local residents and law enforcement.

“We’ve had enough — that’s why I am pleased the Harper government is acting to put the safety of our communities first.”

The 2011 court ruling has kept the Vancouver InSite clinic open, but the new rules will make it more difficult for it to stay open and for supporters to open clinics in other cities.

InSite advocates say the clinic’s presence has reduced fatal overdoses and connected drug addicts with the social services they need to improve their health. But no other city has yet set up a similar injection site.

Until now, such clinics required an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to operate.

The new rules add an additional set of requirements focused on getting input from local and provincial authorities.

Applicants must include letters from provincial ministers, local government, local police forces and provincial health authorities, as well as proof of consultation with doctors, nurses and a broad range of community groups.

They will need to show they are financially sustainable. And they will have to provide scientific evidence of medical benefits that would come from setting up a safe injection site.

Applicants will also have to predict impacts on public safety and set up procedures to mitigate the risk of harm to health, safety and security.

And they must take into account other drug treatment services available.

The Vancouver facility, if it wants to stay open, would have to meet all the new requirements and show how the site has already affected neighbourhood crime rates and individual and public health.

A spokeswoman for InSite said there was no official comment on the legislation yet, but she pointed out that the facility already meets provincial requirements for public consultation and community engagement. The facility has federal permission to stay open until March 2014, when it must apply to Ottawa again.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell is hoping to pick up where he left off last season as the 2020-21 WHL season kicks off Friday in Red Deer against the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels set to host Tigers in WHL season opener

24-game WHL Alberta only season kicks off night Friday at the Centrium

Alberta reported an additional 399 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, on 9,217 tests, for a test positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer down to 562 active COVID-19 cases

8 new COVID-19 deaths, 399 additional COVID-19 cases

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal's Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Quebec starts COVID-19 vaccination bookings for seniors; those in Ontario must wait

Quebec starts COVID-19 vaccination bookings for seniors; those in Ontario must wait

The corporate logo of Pembina Pipeline Corp. (TSX:PPL) is shown. Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp. says it is "doing what is right for the country and fellow Canadians" by shipping unit trains full to propane to Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Pembina Pipeline posts $1.2 billion loss on petrochemical, LNG project impairments

CALGARY — Pembina Pipeline Corp. is reporting a $1.2 billion net fourth-quarter… Continue reading

Rode
Red Deer College esports league off to a good start

Red Deer College Kings hockey veteran Jacob Wozney has been involved in… Continue reading

This combination photo shows the cover of "Later," left, and author Stephen King. Readers may know him best for “Carrie,” “The Shining” and other bestsellers commonly identified as “horror,” but King has long had an affinity for other kinds of narratives, from science fiction and prison drama to the Boston Red Sox. (Hard Case Crime via AP, left, and AP)
Stephen King talks about crime, creativity and new novel

Stephen King talks about crime, creativity and new novel

Most Read