The Surrey Board of Trade supports the letter signed by the Mayors of Victoria, Saanich, Nanaimo, Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and Kamloops as they ask Health Canada for approval to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. This follows a similar ask from Vancouver’s Mayor.
“Incarceration, gang related activity, and overdoses are all directly linked to the fact that illicit drugs are circulating in our communities,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “It is creating a strain on our community resources, impacting economic activity, and reducing the ability for people to feel safe in many parts of our city. As a result, we support this call to action by Vancouver and mayors from across BC.”
The Surrey Board of Trade composed a policy earlier this year centred around this issue calling for provincial and federal collaboration on the decriminalization of illicit drugs. The specific recommendations were:
That the Federal Government work with Provinces and Territories to:
1. Decriminalize and regulate all non-medical drugs;
2. Create rehabilitation programs by working with relevant not-for-profit organizations to build their capacity; and,
3. Work with businesses to create work-placement programs for those that have completed rehabilitation programs by subsidizing a portion of the wages.
“The criminal justice system is overburdened. Our healthcare system is at capacity. Our labour force is in short supply. Decriminalization and regulation of non-medical drugs can alleviate these pressures and reduce stigma. By decriminalizing and regulating the illicit drug supply, overdoses can be managed. By ensuring that possession of non-medical drugs and being under the influence does not result in criminal charges, our workforce is not reduced. But there must be a rehabilitation aspect included in decriminalization and regulation. Rehabilitation coupled with work placing programs will increase our labour supply, reduce the toll on our healthcare and policing systems in the long run, and lead to fewer deaths.”
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org