Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. PHS Community Services Society, et al. – May 12, 2011
The Supreme Court heard arguments concerning the future of Insite, Vancouver’s supervised drug injection facility. Canada’s highest court must decide if Insite falls under provincial or federal jurisdiction and whether closing it violates the rights of drug addicts. The federal government is appealing the B.C. Court of Appeal’s 2010 decision to allow Insite to remain open. The B.C. court had ruled that Insite is a health care facility and falls under provincial jurisdiction.
Open since 2003, Insite allows addicts to inject their own illicit drugs in a supervised environment. It is North America’s first legal supervised injection site, and also provides health and counselling services. Insite had been operating under an exemption from being prosecuted under federal drug laws and was granted two extensions. It received a permanent exemption in 2010 from the B.C. Supreme Court after its temporary extension was set to expire in 2008 and the federal Conservative government did not extend the exemption.
PHS Community Services Society operates Insite in conjunction with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.