A man holds a sign during a protest against the proposed Vancouver Model for illicit drug decriminalization, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A man holds a sign during a protest against the proposed Vancouver Model for illicit drug decriminalization, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver sends drug decriminalization pitch to Health Canada for federal review

“Vancouver Model” proposes personal possession threshold levels for 15 common substances

The City of Vancouver says it has submitted its final proposal for decriminalization of simple possession of drugs to Health Canada, making it the first jurisdiction in the country to apply for such an exemption for federal drug laws.

The city says in a statement the so-called “Vancouver Model” proposes personal possession threshold levels for 15 common substances and would lead to a dramatic reduction in seizure by police.

The news comes the same day the BC Coroners’ Service said 176 British Columbians died from toxic illicit drugs in April, bringing the total number of deaths this year to 680.

Vancouver’s decriminalization pitch has faced criticism from drug users who say the proposed possession thresholds are too low and their input hasn’t been taken seriously.

Board members of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users have said the thresholds will increase users’ interactions with both drug dealers and police, and could prompt producers to make even stronger and more dangerous drugs.

Ted Bruce, public health consultant for the city, said the proposed thresholds in the submission are only a starting point.

“We anticipate that they will evolve as further data becomes available and increased consultation with people with lived experience occurs to make sure the Vancouver Model achieves its goal of reducing stigma, reducing risk, and connecting people to care,” Bruce says in the statement.

The City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Department, and the office of Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical health officer have worked together to determine initial drug thresholds based on science and research, the city says.

Under the proposal, individuals found in possession of less than the threshold amount of a drug would not face criminal sanctions or administrative or financial penalties.

Instead, the city says the model stresses voluntary referrals and contact by health-care workers, not police.

The B.C. government has also said it plans to apply for a federal exemption to decriminalize personal possession of drugs across the province.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: B.C. marks 14th month of 100+ deaths as 176 people fatally overdose in April

Decriminalize possessionDrugsLaw and justice

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read