Category Archives: Briefing Papers

Mandatory Minimum Incarceration for Drug Offences: Bad public policy: Submission to the Department of Justice

“There is no evidence that mandatory prison time for people convicted of drug offences reduces the problems associated with drug use, or drug use itself. “At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence that mandatory minimum sentences wreak terrible damage on individuals (particularly those who are dependent on drugs), families and communities, […]

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Exploring Avenues to Address Problematic Prosecutions Against People Living with HIV in Canada

In consultation with the community, federal and provincial governments must take action to limit HIV criminalization and bring the law in line with international recommendations, science and human rights as outlined in the attached brief.

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Recommendations for Aligning Canada’s International Obligations with the Country’s New Legal Framework for Cannabis

“As Canada prepares to enact legislation that will legalize and regulate cannabis, the government should begin to explore Canada’s options for ensuring that the country’s international legal obligations are brought into alignment with its new legal framework for cannabis. Canada’s reform will inevitably involve entering into non-compliance with specific elements of the UN drug control […]

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Cannabis Regulation and the UN Drug Treaties: Strategies for reform

As jurisdictions enact reforms creating legal access to cannabis for purposes other than exclusively “medical and scientific,” tensions surrounding the existing UN drug treaties and evolving law and practice in Member States continue to grow. How might governments and the UN system address these growing tensions in ways that acknowledge the policy shifts underway and […]

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UNGASS 2016: Recommendations to Canada for Promoting Smart Policy on Drugs

In February 2016, the National UNGASS Working Group (supported by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network) delivered a brief to Canada’s federal government, outlining 10 priority recommendations to inform the ongoing negotiations at the UN in the lead-up to the UNGASS in April. This will include negotiations at the upcoming session […]

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Action Required: five key HIV-related issues facing Canada’s federal government

It is time for Canada to re-commit to the global project of ending HIV, including by basing our response on sound scientific evidence and fundamental human rights principles.

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Cannabis policy

By any measure, cannabis prohibition in Canada has failed to meet the stated objective of reducing demand. Despite extensive enforcement efforts, cannabis remains the most frequently used illegal drug in Canada; among youth, it is the second-most-used psychoactive substance, after alcohol. Compared to other jurisdictions, rates of use among Canadian youth are high, and a significant illegal market in cannabis production and […]

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Drug policy and harm reduction

Harm reduction reflects widespread consensus among a range of government officials, health care professionals, police and law enforcement agencies, academics and nongovernmental organizations. Yet in 2007, the Government of Canada removed harm reduction as an official element of Canada’s federal drug strategy and implemented a more punitive approach to drug policy. Once a relative leader in progressive drug policy, Canada has also […]

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Drug policy and overdose prevention and response

Across Canada, far too many people are dying from drug overdoses. This public health emergency can affect anyone, including those using prescription opioids medically or non-medically, as well as people who use drugs purchased on the illegal and unregulated market.

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Don’t Trade Away Health: Brief to Canada’s Minister of International Trade Regarding the Trans‐Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Access to Medicines

Billions of people around the world lack access to life‐saving medicines. While this is because of a number of synergistic causes, one critical factor is the prohibitively high cost of patent‐monopolized medications. Provisions currently being negotiated for the Trans‐Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) risk exacerbating this situation, which for many is a matter of life and […]

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