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Letter from MP Hedy Fry regarding safer injection sites

Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre and Liberal Health Critic, sent this response to our letter calling on the health minister to take action to support the health of people who use drugs. Thank you Hedy for opposing the Conservative government's attempt to undermine the Supreme Court and hinder the creation of services like Insite in cities across Canada. People who live in Vancouver know how important Insite is to the health and safety of their community!

Thank you for your letter concerning Bill C-65, an Act to Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, now Bill C-2. The first act of the Conservative government in this session was to reintroduce the “Respect for Communities Act”, which should be more appropriately named the “banning of safe injection sites bill” because of its negative impact on accessing safe injection sites for some of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.. The Conservative government is acting on ideology rather than evidence.

The Bill exceeds the 2011 Supreme Court of Canada ruling regarding InSite, going well beyond the factors to be considered when granting an exemption of S.56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Bill C-2 raises the criteria to establish a supervised injection site to such an extraordinarily high level that it would be nearly impossible for any future supervised consumption sites to be established in Canada. The Supreme Court ruling, keeping InSite open, was based on proof that InSite saved lives, citing Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom:, “life, liberty and security of the person”.

Furthermore, only an hour after the legislation was initially introduced, Conservative campaign director Jenni Byrne issued a crass and misleading fundraising letter to supporters stating that the Liberals and NDP want addicts to shoot up heroin in the backyards of communities all across the country. From this, it is clear that the intention of the Conservative government is to fundraise on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in Canada, those with addictions and mental illness. Addiction is a disease that must be addressed primarily by clinical and public health guidelines.

As a physician, I support evidence-based policies that reduce harm, promote public health and protect public safety. I believe that supervised consumption sites form an integral component of such policies.

Community forum on supervised injection sites in Lowertown

There will be a public forum to discuss supervised injection sites at the next Lowertown Community Association meeting on Monday, October 21, 7pm at the Routhier Community Center.

Speakers will include Sean LeBlanc from the Drug Users Advocacy League, Dr. Mark Tyndall from the Ottawa Hospital, and Matt Skof of the Ottawa Police Association.

Come on out to discuss community health in our neighbourhood, and to make your voice heard in support of safer consumption sites in Ottawa!

Opinion survey confirms support for supervised consumption site in Ottawa

On online survey conducted by the Ottawa Sun has found that a majority of respondents believe that Ottawa should have a supervised injection site for people who use drugs.

The survey, which was published on the daily newspaper's website from September 30 to October 5, 2013, posed 9 questions on readers' opinions toward supervised injection services and their effects on the community.

Of the 1,794 people who responded, 56% indicated that Ottawa should open a site, while 51% said that they would accept a site in their own neighbourhood. 58% said that they believed such a site would either not impact or increase the safety and well-being of the surrounding area. (Full results here.)

Donna May advocates for supervised injection in Ottawa

Donna May shared the moving story of her daughter Jac's struggle with drug addiction, and the belief that a supervised injection site could have saved her life, at the 9/30 event in Ottawa last week.

Dr. Mark Tyndall on supervised injection sites in Ottawa

Dr. Mark Tyndall, Head of Infectious Diseases at the Ottawa Hospital, speaks out for supervised injection sites in Ottawa at an event to mark the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on Insite.

A compelling call to action for a proven medical service that would improve the health of people who use drugs, and benefit the entire community.

9/30 in Ottawa

Thank you to everyone who attended the 9/30 event this morning and packed the PROUD research center at 216 Murray Street. Many people toured the mock injection room to see first-hand how simple it can be to reduce the harms of drug use and save lives in our community.

Thanks also to our amazing speakers, who provided thoughtful, compassionate, and evidence-based reasons for creating supervised injection sites in Ottawa:

Rachel Bard, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Association
Sean LeBlanc of the Drug Users Advocacy League
Chris Dalton of CSCS Ottawa
Ewald Friesen, a resident of the neighbourhood
Dr. Mark Tyndall, head of infectious diseases at the Ottawa Hospital
Donna May of Jac's Voice

If you'd like to stay informed or get more involved in our campaign, sign up to our mailing list.

Report on community support for supervised consumption sites

CSCS Ottawa has released a report entitled Community Support for a Supervised Consumption Site in Ottawa.

This report provides an account of recent initiatives undertaken by the group to engage with members of the community on the subject of supervised drug consumption sites.

In particular, it presents the results of the residential and business canvassing campaigns conducted in Ottawa’s Lowertown and ByWard Market neighbourhoods in the spring and summer of 2013.

Our purpose in undertaking this activity was firstly to draw attention to the serious health crisis facing people who use drugs in Ottawa, and secondly to gather the opinions of those who live and work in an area of the city most impacted by problematic drug use.

We hope that by sharing this information with fellow community members, frontline health and social service providers, politicians, police, and the media, we can attract support to our campaign and ultimately meet our goal of seeing supervised consumption sites opened in Ottawa.

Download: pdf Community Support for a Supervised Consumption Site in Ottawa

9/30 Bring it to Light - A call to action for supervised drug consumption

September 30th is the 2nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that people who use drugs have a right to access health care services, including supervised injection.

Join us at 216 Murray Street at 9:30 am to hear speakers talk about the need for supervised consumption in Ottawa, and to support health care for people who use drugs in our community.

We will also provide tours of our mock injection room to demonstrate what this service might look like.

Program starts at 10am.
Media will be present.

RSVP on Facebook

We CAN do better. Join us!

The petition drive is on - get involved!

A year ago, we launched a petition calling on the provincial government to support the creation of supervised drug consumption sites in Ottawa. Since then, hundreds of people have signed their support for this life-saving health care initiative.

Now we're preparing to submit our petition to the Ontario Legislature. Before we do, we're asking you to help strengthen our call with a final push to gather as many signatures as possible.

Download and print our petition and take it to work, school, or to visit your friends & neighbours. At the end of the week, get in touch with us and we'll arrange to receive the signatures you've collected.

Or volunteer to join us next weekend for a petition blitz. To mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of Insite in Vancouver, we will head to the ByWard Market on September 21 & 22 to hand out information about safer consumption sites and gather signatures from people on the street.

Provincial governments in B.C. and Quebec have already shown their support for supervised consumption services. It's time that politicians in Ontario stood up for the health and well-being of people who use drugs, and the communities they live in.

Thank you for taking action!

OD Awareness Day 2013 demands

At the Overdose Awareness Day rally held Friday in Ottawa, Gilles and Kelly from DUAL read the following statement, recognizing the accomplishments of harm reduction advocates over the past year and calling on the city to meet further demands for the health and safety of people who use drugs.

CSCS stands firmly with DUAL and supports the call to health care leaders and politicians to take action now to prevent further deaths in our community.

"Before we state our demands, we want to recognize some important progress that has been made over the last year in the City of Ottawa. A year ago, on Overdose Awareness Day we demanded access to naloxone a safe drug that immediately reverses opiate overdoses and prevents death. Over the last year Ottawa Public Health rolled out the peer overdose prevention program which gave access to naloxone at the street level. While we need greater access to naloxone, we must recognize that this is a big step that came from the demands of our communities."

"Last year we also demanded greater access to overdose statistics from the provincial coroner. We now have greater access to the numbers of people who have died from overdose related causes. Again, this came from the demands of our communities."

Overdose Awareness Day 2013 demands

  • Safer injection services now! Overdose deaths can be prevented, but not if the person is alone.
  • Open access to Naloxone
  • We need evidence-based health care and treatment that is accessible.
  • We need to end the stigma against people who consume drugs. We need to strengthen our community through evidence and action.
  • We need to treat drug use as health issues instead of using criminal punishment. We want our dollars spent on health care and housing.


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