Both CBC News and the Vancouver Province are reporting that the City of Abbotsford will be defending its curiously named ‘Anti-HArm Reduction Bylaw’ in front of the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
The City is already facing a law suit from the Pivot Legal Society over the bylaw and has entered a defence based on the argument that, since the City is unable to enforce the bylaw it is innocent of any claims brought against it.
The Fraser Health Authority argues it cannot institute any harm-reduction efforts or programs when it is prohibited from doing so by the City’s bylaw.
The bylaw, staunchly defended by Councillor and MLA Simon Gibson, makes it illegal to use any property in Abbotsford to save the lives of drug addicts or others by using harm-reduction techniques such as distributing clean needles to reduce the extremely high levels of HIV and Hep C found on Abbotsford streets..
Abbotsford drug bylaw goes to human rights tribunal
Barry Shantz with the B.C.-Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors, the group behind the human rights complaint, says the city acted outside its jurisdiction and violated the Charter rights of drug users.
“Drug users are consistently facing stigma and discrimination in Abbotsford,” he said.
“The tribunal’s acceptance of our complaint and Drug War Survivors as representatives for the marginalized and vulnerable is a good first step in giving us some dignity back.”
Abbotsford must defend anti-harm reduction bylaw before B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
[excerpt] Vancouver Province
B.C./Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors complaint on behalf of three Abbotsford drug users alleging that the city acted outside of its jurisdiction, violated Charter rights and breached the Human Rights Code.
Barry Shantz of the Drug War Survivors group said the tribunal’s acceptance of the complaint is a positive step in breaking down the stigma and discrimination he says drug users face in Abbotsford.[source]