OPS are necessary—both to save lives and in accordance with public health laws. When local governments or police obstruct OPS, they contravene a Ministerial Order; violate provincial jurisdiction over health; discriminate against people who use drugs; and put people’s lives at even greater risk amid overlapping health crises. When health authorities fail to establish or otherwise protect OPS, they breach their legal obligations, potentially amounting to negligence and/or discrimination.
In light of the federal government’s failure to meaningfully reform drug policy, provinces like B.C. can and must take legal steps to effectively (“de facto”) decriminalize simple possession by re-directing police resources away from its criminal enforcement.