Source: Facebook

A day after the Ontario government called on Toronto to end its bid for decriminalization, Ottawa turned down Toronto’s request, citing concerns about its effectiveness and threats to public safety.

In a statement released on Friday, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya’ara Saks explained that the proposal “does not adequately protect public health and maintain public safety.” 

Saks highlighted issues with the feasibility of law enforcement implementing the proposed model, the protection of youth, and the lack of support from key stakeholders, including the Province of Ontario.

This decision comes shortly after the Ontario government demanded that Toronto reversed course labeling decriminalization as “misguided” and “disastrous.” 

In a letter to Toronto’s top doctor, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Solicitor General Michael Kerzner said the province would oppose any effort to decriminalize drugs.

Premier Doug Ford echoed this sentiment in his correspondence to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday. 

“As we’ve already indicated to Toronto Public Health, we do not, and never will, support their application to decriminalize illegal drugs,” Ford stated. “Please consider this our formal confirmation to the federal government that we are 100 per cent opposed to their proposal.”

Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre also joined the chorus of opposition, urging the prime minister to reject Toronto in his own letter.

Since British Columbia reversed course on its decriminalization pilot, public support for it has faltered 

In response to the opposition, de Villa defended the request. 

“At the end of the day, I will continue to do my job as a physician to provide the advice and then to leave the decision-making to the elected officials,” de Villa told CP24 on Thursday. 

The City of Toronto has yet to respond officially to the federal government’s decision.

Premier Ford has since expressed approval of Ottawa’s decision on X.