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Senate Passes Life-Saving Bill C-37

A life-saving bill aimed at tackling Canada’s growing opioid crisis is set to become law after being adopted in the Senate on Wednesday.

The comprehensive legislation was passed just two days after the House of Commons accepted one Senate amendment, disagreed with a second, and altered the language in the third.       

Bill C-37 gives health and law enforcement professionals new and important tools by:

  • Streamlining the application process for the creation of supervised consumption sites;
  • Prohibiting the unregistered importation of pill presses and encapsulators, which can be used to make counterfeit drugs; and
  • Removing the exception on border officers to only open mail weighing more than 30 grams. (One standard size mail envelope weighing 30 grams can contain enough fentanyl to cause 15,000 overdoses.)


The House accepted an amendment by Senator Paul McIntyre that specifies that — should the Minister of Health choose to post a notice to seek public input regarding an application for a supervised consumption site — the public should have a minimum of 45 days to provide feedback.

The House also altered an amendment by Senator Vern White, which detailed that staff at supervised consumption sites “shall offer” a pharmaceutical alternative before allowing a person to consume a controlled substance. The word “shall” was replaced with “may.”

The House rejected an amendment by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu that would have given the Minister of Health the authority to establish citizen advisory committees for supervised consumption sites.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Larry Campbell. It was initially introduced in the House of Commons by Health Minister Jane Philpott in December 2016.

It will become law after receiving Royal Assent.