Report on Safe Injection Facilities in Canada

New Report on Establishing Safe Injection Facilities in Canada: Legal and Ethical Issues

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network wishes to announce that our new report on "Establishing Safe Injection Facilities in Canada: Legal and Ethical Issues" and an updated version of our info sheets on HIV/AIDS and injection drug use (including a new info sheet on safe injection facilties) are now available on our website at:

Establishing Safe Injection Facilities in Canada: Legal and Ethical Issues outlines the nature of the calls for reform and addresses the arguments commonly made for and against the introduction of safe injection facilities; canvasses the successful implementation of such facilities in several European countries and in Australia; addresses legal issues related to their establishment; and concludes that government policymakers have a legal and moral obligation to at least allow and support trials of safe injection facilities as measures that are permissible under drug control treaties, further our human rights obligations, and are required out of logic, compassion, and basic decency.

Six recommendations for immediate action by government(s) are presented:

  •  The federal government should update Canada's Drug Strategy to expressly support trials of safe injection facilities;
  • The federal government should create a regulatory framework under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to govern safe injection facilities;
  • The regulatory framework should ensure broad access to safe injection facilities by all drug users who need them, and should address issues such as the activities and services permitted on the premises and minimum administrative requirements aimed at ensuring the facilities' safe and effective operation;
  • In the interim, before such a regulatory framework is in place, the federal Minister of Health should grant ministerial exemptions from the application of the provisions of the CDSA that make it an offence to possess a controlled substance in designated safe injection facilities, and would apply to their staff and clients, so that such facilities can operate on a trial basis;
  • Health Canada should fund the operation and evaluation of a multi-site scientific research trial of safe injection facilties;
  • Federal, provincial/territorial, and muncipal officials should collaborate to ensure that trials of safe injection facilties can occur as quickly as possible.

The enclosed report and info sheets are being sent to a broad range of individuals and organizations working in areas related to drug use, harm reduction, and HIV/AIDS, as well as to government policymakers, health care professionals and associations, law enforcement officials and associations, researchers, and advocates. We hope that these documents will contribute to the informed and expedient development of Canadian law and policy that supports harm-reduction measures such as safe injection facilities.

CANADIAN HIV/AIDS LEGAL NETWORK - RÉSEAU JURIDIQUE CANADIEN VIH/sida 417, rue Saint-Pierre, suite 408, Montréal (Québec) Canada H2Y 2M4 tel: 514.397.6828 # 224 fax: 514.397.8570 email: [email protected] web:

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is a partner organisation of the AIDS Law Project of South Africa

Le Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida est un organisme partenaire du AIDS Law Project en Afrique du Sud