Insite exemption granted
Friday, September 30, 2011
Susan Precious

In Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society, 2011 SCC 44, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the Minister's failure to grant an exemption under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to Insite, the safe injection site in Vancouver's downtown eastside, violated the claimants' section 7 rights under the Charter.  The SCC made an order of mandamus granting the exemption under section 56 of the CDSA.  In future applications for exemptions, the Minister must exercise the discretion within the constraints imposed by the law and the Charter.  Where the evidence indicates that a supervised injection site will decrease the risk of death and disease, and there is little or no evidence that it will have a negative impact on public safety, the Minister should generally grant the exemption.  The SCC upheld the order for special costs.

Article originally appeared on Branch MacMaster LLP: Barristers & Solicitors (http://www.branchmacmaster.com/).
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