Summary

33556

Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. PHS Community Services Society, et al.

(British Columbia) (Criminal) (By Leave)

Keywords

Canadian charter - criminal.

Summary

Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.

Charter of Rights - Division of powers - Interjurisdictional immunity - Federal paramountcy - Right to life, liberty and security of person - Reasonable limits prescribed by law - Health law - Hospitals and Health care facilities - Criminal law - Offences of trafficking and possession of controlled substances - Procedural Law - Costs - Are ss. 4(1) and 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19, constitutionally inapplicable to the activities of staff and users at Insite, a health care undertaking in the Province of British Columbia? - Does s. 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19, infringe the rights guaranteed by s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? - If so, is the infringement a reasonable limit prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? - Does s. 5(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19, infringe the rights guaranteed by s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? - If so, is the infringement a reasonable limit prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? - Whether the trial judge erred in awarding costs to the respondents.

Inside the Vancouver Safe Injection Site drug users self inject controlled drugs and substances. The health clinic’s staff oversee drug use, provide clean facilities and sterile equipment, respond to emergencies such as overdoses, and provide health and counselling services. The clinic operates under exemptions from the trafficking and possession offences granted by the Minister of Health pursuant to s. 56 of the C.D.S.A. The Minister’s exemptions permit the clinic to operate without its staff and clients being prosecuted for trafficking or possession of controlled substances. No extensions of the exemptions appear forthcoming. The respondents applied for a multitude of declarations that will permit the clinic to continue operations without exemptions.