Province will fund Sandy Hill Supervised Injection Site

As Ottawa’s opioid crisis grows, the proposed Supervised Injection Site (SIS) in Sandy Hill has cleared another hurdle.

The Ontario government confirmed in the budget released April 27 that it will fund the site, as long as it gets approval from the federal government.

Rob Boyd, Oasis program director at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, where the SIS will be housed, said they are still in negotiations with the province and have not yet nailed down the exact capital and operating costs.

“We are very concerned about this recent spike in overdoses. We don’t think it’s an anomaly. We think it’s very likely the way things are going forward now,” he said.

But, Boyd said, it is looking less likely the site will be able to open this summer because the community health centre will have to do some renovations and hire and train specialized staff before they can open it.

“Everybody is working together as quickly as possible on this and I think everybody is motivated to get this thing up and running as quickly as possible,” he said.

Supervised Injection Sites, also know as safe injection sites, or safe consumption sites, operate under a federal exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Getting that exemption currently requires the site to meet 26 criteria, though the Liberal government has introduced a bill to streamline the process.

The community centre’s application is being processed under the current system. As of the latest update in March 2017, Health Canada has advised them the application contains “sufficient information to move to a more formal review.”

“The final exemption won’t be granted to us until after we have built the space,” he said, but added showing the site will be fully funded is one of the key components of getting approval.

By Alex Abdelwahab
Source: Metro Ottawa