Toronto expands decriminalization proposal to include all drugs and youth exemption

The city's updated submission is to its initial January 2022 request

Toronto has updated its 14-month-old decriminalization request to the federal government, clarifying it wants a Health Canada exemption to cover young people as well as adults, and all drugs for personal use.

The city’s updated submission to its initial January 2022 request asks the federal agency to go further than the exemption it recently granted to British Columbia under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

The letter released Friday and jointly signed by Toronto’s medical officer of health, police chief and city manager lays out what they call a “made-in-Toronto” model.

Toronto’s submission makes clear the city is asking for all drugs to be decriminalized for personal use, for the exemption to cover young people in addition to adults and to extend across the city, except for schools, childcare facilities and airports.

Health Canada granted B.C. a three-year decriminalization exemption covering adults and certain drugs – namely, opioids, crack and powder cocaine, meth and MDMA.

While the B.C. exemption, effective Jan. 31, decriminalizes possession up to a combined 2.5 grams of drugs, the Toronto model does not outline a proposed threshold.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.

Banner image via – Canadian Press