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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. 

Full Report

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

This report has also been published in the FACETS collection of RSC Policy Briefings. The report is available here. 

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