Vancouver Coastal Health has been granted a four-year exemption by Health Canada to continue operating Insite, the supervised injection site located in the Downtown Eastside.
That multi-year decision is a change from the normal yearly exemption that VCH has been required to adhere to since 2011.
Health Minister Terry Lake says he is encouraged by Health Canada’s willingness to voluntarily move to a multi-year exemption for Insite.
He says it reflects an understanding of the tremendous value of the facility.
Health Canada issued a two-year exemption in January to the Dr. Peter Centre, making it the second such exemption in Canada.
Health officials pleased
It’s music to Dr. Patricia Daly, Vancouver Coastal Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer.
“That’s a good way of describing it, we are really affected by a new piece of legislation brought in by the previous government called Bill C2, it has 27 criteria that we must meet in an application for an exemption and the amount of material that we had to put together was really several inches of paper that was sent off to Health Canada.”
Daly says legislation remains on the books from the previous government attempting to make it as difficult as possible for healthcare providers to give safe injection room services.
“That’s why I would hope that this new government would repeal this legislation,”
“We do submit our application to Health Canada, and Health Canada has indicated they are very open to supervised injection services, they’re happy to work with us but we still have to meet all the criteria inthat legislation because it is an existing piece of legislation.”
That application Daley describes as having to meet 27 criteria, described in several inches of paperwork that had to be sent to Health Canada.