FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - February 18, 2021 – Today, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) applauds and commends the Government of Canada for choosing to end the failed policy of Mandatory Minimum Penalties (MMP) specific to drug offences with the introduction of a Bill C- 22 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
“Social Workers expect all party support to expedite this Bill into law” states CASW President Joan Davis Whelan. “Its passing will signify a unified understanding of the devasting impacts that mandatory minimums have had in deepening the opioid crisis by criminalizing substance use and poverty, all while contributing directly to the near doubling of federally incarcerated Indigenous people in Canada.”
Since introduced by an earlier Government, CASW has actively advocated against mandatory minimums specific to drug offences. CASW has consistently advocated for the elimination of mandatory minimums as the next step in this Government’s public health approach to addressing our nation’s most challenging health, economic and social issues.
“This Government should be applauded and recognized for following evidence and introducing a bill that will save lives by moving to a needed public health approach to substance use in Canada” notes Davies-Whelan. “The next step to saving lives and supporting people in recovery is to decriminalize the personal use of all drugs and we look forward to supporting the Government of Canada in making this its next public health priority.”
For more information contact:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW