Ottawa rejects Toronto's request to decriminalize drug possession

Ottawa rejects request

Addictions Minister Ya'ara Saks has rejected Toronto's request to decriminalize the possession of controlled drugs, citing concerns about public safety.

The decision was announced Friday evening before the long weekend, after weeks of immense political pressure from the opposition Conservatives and the Ontario government to refuse Toronto's request

The proposal called for decriminalization to be paired with a host of more direct public health responses to the overdose crisis.

The city sent its proposal to Health Canada in January 2022 and, after more consultations, updated its submission in March 2023.

Saks says in a statement that she has determined Toronto's plan does not adequately protect public health and maintain public safety.

One of her concerns is a lack of support from the provincial government, which has vehemently opposed the idea.

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