Responding to Ford government safe injection site funding cuts

CUPE Local 79 strongly supports Toronto’s supervised consumption and treatment services and the life saving work that harm reduction workers do every day.

Our members in Toronto Public Health keep our city healthy by providing health clinics, nutrition programs, and working to stop infectious diseases. The front-line workers at Toronto Public Health’s supervised consumption and overdose prevention location regularly save lives.

We agree with Mayor John Tory, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy, and the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society on the importance of supervised consumption sites. The numbers that Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has reported speak for themselves: Toronto Public Health’s supervised injection site has had 40,017 visits and staff have reversed 748 overdoses.

Combatting the opioid crisis must be a priority for all levels of government. In 2017, Statistics Canada found that 29% of Canadians 18 years and older had used some form of opioids in the past five years. Drugs users are our neighbours, friends, and family members. Supervised consumption and overdose prevention services are proven to save lives and closing these essential sites is dangerous, unethical, and will result in preventable deaths.

Please consider signing Progress Toronto’s petition urging the provincial government to maintain funding of overdose prevention, and read CUPE Local 79 President Dave Mitchell’s letter to Minister Christine Elliott urging the Province to continue funding this critical work.

 


Hon. Christine Elliott
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
College Park 5th Fl
777 Bay St
Toronto, ON M7A 2J3

Dear Minister Elliott,

I am writing today in support of supervised consumption and treatment services, and to urge you to continue funding Toronto Public Health’s life-saving work.

CUPE Local 79’s 20,000 members take care of Toronto. We have members working across City divisions, serving as planners, clerks, social service employees, cleaners, child care workers, and we have hundreds of members working in Toronto Public Health.

Our members in Toronto Public Health keep our city healthy by providing health clinics, nutrition programs, and working to stop infectious diseases. The front-line workers at Toronto Public Health’s supervised consumption and overdose prevention location regularly save lives.

CUPE Local 79 agrees with Mayor John Tory, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy, and the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society on the importance of supervised consumption sites. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has reported that between the August 2017 opening of the Toronto Public Health supervised injection site to March 24, 2019, there have been 40,017 visits to the site. In the same time period, 748 overdoses were reversed at the Toronto Public Health site.

Combatting the opioid crisis must be a priority for all levels of government and we were encouraged to read that your government is taking the opioid crisis seriously. In 2017, Statistics Canada found that 29% of Canadians 18 years and older had used some form of opioids in the past five years. Drug users are our neighbours, friends, and family members. Supervised consumption and overdose prevention services are proven to save lives and closing these essential sites is dangerous, unethical, and will result in preventable deaths.

We urge the province to continue to fund this critical work.

Regards,

David Mitchell
President