Established by the President of the Royal Society of Canada in April 2020, the RSC Task Force on COVID-19 was mandated to provide evidence-informed perspectives on major societal challenges in response to and recovery from COVID-19.
The Task Force established a series of Working Groups to rapidly develop Policy Briefings, with the objective of supporting policy makers with evidence to inform their decisions.
Overview of “Urgent and Long Overdue: Legal Reform and Drug Decriminalization in Canada”
The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy recommend that States commit to adopting a balanced, integrated, and human rights-based approach to drug policy through a set of foundational human rights principles, obligations arising from human rights standards, and obligations arising from the human rights of particular groups. Following two years of consultation with stakeholders, including people who use drugs, NGOs, legal and human rights experts, UN technical agencies and Member States, the Guidelines “do not invent new rights. Rather, they apply existing human rights law to the legal and policy context of drug control to maximise human rights protections, including in the interpretation and implementation of the drug control conventions.” In respect of the Guidelines and its obligations under UN human rights treaties, Canada must adopt stronger and more specific commitments for a human rights-based, people-centered and public health approach. This approach must commit to the removal of criminal penalties for simple possession and a comprehensive health-based approach to drug regulation.
Authors of the Report
Matthew Bonn, Canadian AIDS Society
Chelsea Cox, University of Ottawa
Marilou Gagnon, University of Victoria
Vanessa Gruben (Co-Chair), University of Ottawa
Adrian Guta, University of Windsor
Elaine Hyshka (Co-Chair), University of Alberta
Martha Jackman, University of Ottawa
Jason Mercredi, University of Saskatchewan
Akia Munga, Breakaway Community Services
Eugene Oscapella, University of Ottawa
Carol Strike, University of Toronto
Hakique Virani, University of Alberta