An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (evidence-based diversion measures)


Nathaniel Erskine-Smith  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Second reading (House), as of March 9, 2020

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This enactment amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to require peace officers to consider measures other than judicial proceedings to deal with individuals alleged to have been in possession of certain substances. It also sets out principles to be taken into account in the determination of the most appropriate measures to take.


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Controlled Drugs and Substances ActRoutine Proceedings

February 26th, 2020 / 3:50 p.m.
See context


Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-236, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (evidence-based diversion measures).

Mr. Speaker, we need to treat drug use as a health issue in the context of the opioid crisis if we want to save lives.

I will not shy away from advocating for decriminalization, but I am aware that early on in this Parliament, I have this opportunity to introduce a bill that will be debated and voted on. In the context of the opioid crisis that has taken so many lives, I want to ensure that a measure is passed that will improve our laws and will help Canadians in need.

To that end, while the bill would not decriminalize drugs, it would ensure there would be an evidence-based diversion framework, a principles-based framework, built on public health principles in our national drug strategy and principles embraced and adopted at the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

The bill is also built on the successful model of the Youth Criminal Justice Act at home. It would require police and prosecutors to ensure, before they move forward with charges, that they consider whether it is sufficient to give a warning or to refer an individual in need to a public health agency and provider.

Again, the evidence from the Youth Criminal Justice Act is clear. We will alleviate unfairness in the criminal justice system, we will help people in need and we will save lives.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)