Canada (A.G.) v. PHS Community Services Society — The Insite Decision


  • Cameron Ward A Cameron Ward & Company, Barristers & Solicitors, Vancouver, British Columbia



On 30 September 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a judgment that granted a new lease on life to Vancouver’s Insite, North America’s first, and still only, supervised safe drug injection facility. The unanimous decision on important issues of constitutional law resolved an unseemly federal-provincial squabble over drug addiction treatment policy and arguably paved the way for a more liberal approach to a problem that has plagued Canada’s inner cities for decades. The Court’s analysis of traditional principles surrounding the division of powers and the application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to governmental action will undoubtedly provide some future guidance to lawyers and judges as they wrestle with other cases where issues of morality and law may intersect.




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