Evidence of meeting #129 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was meth.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Robert-Falcon Ouellette  Winnipeg Centre, Lib.
Steve Barlow  Chief Constable, Calgary Police Service
Brian Bowman  Mayor, Office of the Mayor, City of Winnipeg
Kim Longstreet  President, RJ Streetz Foundation
David Juurlink  Head, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Collin Harris  Drug Expert, Calgary Police Service
John Lane  Chief, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service
Danny Smyth  Chief of Police, Winnipeg Police Service
Karin Phillips  Committee Researcher
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Marie-Hélène Sauvé

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Your time is up.

Mr. Ouellette, you have seven minutes.

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

I'd like to thank everyone very much for attending here today. It's a great honour to have all of you.

I'd like to ask Mayor Brian Bowman, or any of your chiefs there, how many homeless people do we actually have in Winnipeg?

9:50 a.m.

Mayor, Office of the Mayor, City of Winnipeg

Brian Bowman

We've had a couple of street censuses. I'd have to refer to the most recent one and get back to you, Robert. I'm not able to say off the top of my head. Of course, we have those who are facing chronic homelessness and then we have those who are not. It does vary depending on the time of year as well. I can get back to you on specific numbers.

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

I believe the actual number is 1,500.

9:50 a.m.

Mayor, Office of the Mayor, City of Winnipeg

Brian Bowman

Yes. It's absolutely over 1,000.

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

The Province of Manitoba and the federal government just put out a bilateral agreement—$4.2 million from the feds and from the province—to help fund more capacity. That's what the province is saying. They're talking about 130 people being treated in a year. Is that enough to treat the addiction in the city of Winnipeg, Brandon, and elsewhere—not only in indigenous communities, but across the province?

Is that the end for the Province of Manitoba? Have they done their bit? Have they done their heavy lifting?

9:50 a.m.

Mayor, Office of the Mayor, City of Winnipeg

Brian Bowman

It's a step in the right direction, but it's a step. I think more needs to be done by all three levels of government, to be honest, with respect to mental health, addictions and homelessness. There's the federal commitment, and we have seen some actions recently by the provincial government on quicker access. All of these are positive, but they really don't match the scale of the crisis.

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

When you say quicker access, are you talking about rapid access to addiction medicine?

9:50 a.m.

Mayor, Office of the Mayor, City of Winnipeg

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

That's open 22 and a half hours a week in five different locations, so that's not a lot of access in my mind.

I'd like to talk to Ms. Longstreet. How long do you think a treatment should be? The province says it should be 10 days here for a recovery bed, seven to 10 days, and then they say perhaps management withdrawal and recovery for up to 30 days. Is that enough for someone who's addicted or on meth?

Dr. David Juurlink, maybe you'd also like to answer that question.

I'll go with Ms. Longstreet.

9:50 a.m.

President, RJ Streetz Foundation

Kim Longstreet

Having had my son in and out of treatment, 28-day treatments and 21-day treatments, for the past six years, if you were to total up all of that time, you're going to come up with probably a year or so more of recovery needed. For me, no, 30 days is not enough. Eleven days of detoxing is definitely not enough. A program of 21 days is not enough. It is absolutely not enough.

I would like to touch on the fact that the request for proposals that recently went out by our provincial government is to help 15 people per year. That's a pebble in this ocean of meth crisis that we're facing. We need long-term treatment. I would say it takes a year before somebody is even prepared to integrate back into society.

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

9:50 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

This next question is for Mr. Harris from the Calgary Police Service. You mentioned barriers. I was wondering if you could elaborate more on those barriers that you see in your work day to day that impede someone from obtaining addiction treatment, getting off the streets and getting well.

9:50 a.m.

Drug Expert, Calgary Police Service

Det Collin Harris

Thank you for the question. It's a very good question.

I think it's one of those things where, as I mentioned before, our addiction services are overwhelmed. We have facilities that have individuals lining up at the start of the day in order to see whether or not they can get a bed. Numerous individuals are being turned away that morning, because there just isn't the availability. We need to have more flexibility to be able to take these individuals into different facilities.

We need to change the manner in which we provide stabilization and long-term care. We can't just bring them in for that 30-day period, as Ms. Longstreet presented, where we believe that the addiction is going to be completed in 30 days. That's just not going to happen. We're going to continue to have that revolving door of individuals receiving treatment going back out, and hopefully getting access to long-term care, but it's just not there at this point in time.

9:55 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

I have a few more minutes left.

In Winnipeg we know we have a lot of issues in the health care department, the emergency wards, people who are in addictions and security issues for staff who are being hurt. Is that same thing going on in Calgary as well?

December 11th, 2018 / 9:55 a.m.

Drug Expert, Calgary Police Service

Det Collin Harris

I believe it is.

9:55 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

Are officers also required to be on service and on call at that time when they're in the hospitals?

9:55 a.m.

Chief Constable, Calgary Police Service

Chief Steve Barlow

Our officers will be called to the hospitals on a regular basis. We spend a lot of time at our safe consumption site in Calgary, which is attached to a hospital. They have their own security there, but we have been called in on the odd occasion to assist with some of these people.

9:55 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette

My final question, for both chiefs of police, is this: Because you're occupied doing this work, what are you not doing that you should be doing? What are the other tasks that you have been mandated to do that you're not able to do?

9:55 a.m.

Chief Constable, Calgary Police Service

Chief Steve Barlow

I'll quickly answer. When I get into violent crimes, sex crimes and child abuse areas, the numbers are going through the roof. I don't have the officers to put into those areas or promote them into those areas when I'm leaving them on the street based on the crime rates we have that are skyrocketing in Calgary.

9:55 a.m.

Winnipeg Centre, Lib.

9:55 a.m.

Chief Danny Smyth Chief of Police, Winnipeg Police Service

In Winnipeg we see it in two ways. Certainly our call for service queue is backlogged as officers get tied up with the health care facilities, monitoring people who are awaiting treatment, and that prevents us from getting into the community and doing proactive work in the community.

Because we're focused on a backlog of calls for service, our resources get tied up quickly.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

The time's up.

We'll go to our five-minute round. These questions are a little shorter as time's a little shorter.

We're going to start with Mr. Lobb.

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Thank you very much.

My first question is for Mr. Barlow. I'm just not quite sure about this, but when you make an arrest or seizure and there's a considerable amount of money, what do you do with the proceeds of crime?

Does it vary by jurisdiction? Where does that money go?