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Supervised Injection Services: Improving Community Health Outcomes

Media Advisory

A case for public health and safety



TORONTO (Thursday, July 4) - Supervised Injection Services (SIS) aim to improve the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs by offering them safer and more hygienic alternatives. Implementing these sites were one of two recommendations made by Toronto's Medical Officer of Health David McKeown in a report issued on Tuesday that asks Toronto to urge the Ontario government to fund Supervised Injection Services on a pilot basis.

The report, to be discussed at a July 10 meeting of the Toronto Board of Health, also recommends incorporating Supervised Injection Sites into primary care centres, such as Community Health Centres (CHCs), which already service these clients.

"What Toronto Public Health is doing on July 10, 2013 is an important reminder of the lessons of the 2011 Supreme Court's ruling, a reminder that governments, and indeed all public health units, have a duty to act in ways that enhance the health of individuals and their communities - even when doing so is politically unpalatable," said David Gibson, Executive Director, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre.

The second recommendation was to withdraw Bill C-65 that was introduced in June. The Bill, called the Respect for Communities Act, stipulates a set of unreasonable conditions that would need to be met in order to introduce SIS into a community. These conditions include measures that present health barriers.   

The Association of Ontario Health Centres supports the recommendations of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, David McKeown and appeals to the City of Toronto to register its opposition to the federal government's Bill C-65.  

"Denying people who use drugs access to supervised injection facilities not only stands against the Charter of Rights but it also reinforces health barriers," said Adrianna Tetley, Executive Director of AOHC. "Passing Bill C-65 would be regressive legislation. Researchhas already proven that supervised safe-injection sites have an important role; they work to reduce overdose deaths and to improve the overall health and safety of our communities."

Safe Injection Services have been shown to be an effective strategy to reduce harms associated with drug use.


The Association of Ontario Health Centres aims for the best possible health and wellbeing for everyone living in Ontario. AOHC looks towards a future without systemic barriers that prevent people from reaching their full health potential, where everyone can make the choices that allow them to live a fulfilling life. A future in which individuals, families and communities are served by, and are able to actively participate in, trusted healthcare systems that respond to people's and communities' needs in coordinated and comprehensive ways.



Association of Ontario Health Centres:
Sofia Ramirez

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre:
David Gibson,
Executive Director


Toronto City Hall

July 10, 2013, 1pm

Committee Room 2  
Toronto City Hall

Meeting 23 of the Toronto Board of Health  

Topic:Supervised Injection Services in Toronto  (Ward All)  


Medical Officer of Health Report

Bill C-65, "The Respect for Communities Act"

Supreme Court of Canada 2011 Ruling

Reduction in overdose mortality after first medically supervised safer injection facility: a retrospective population-based study

Thursday, July 4, 2013