Available Now: Report from Canada's Drug Futures Forum

Available in both English and French, “Canada’s Drug Futures Forum: Summary of Proceedings and Final Recommendations” synthesizes dialogue generated by speakers at the Forum and outlines recommendations from over 200 policymakers, public health officials, law enforcement professionals, researchers, people who use drugs, and community organizers, providing an innovative roadmap to improve Canada’s policy response to illegal drugs over the coming ten years.

Click here to view the full report, as well as a summary report and recommendations, in English and French.

the conference is now sold out

Join us in Ottawa this April to map out the next decade of drug policy reform in Canada

Recent decisions by the Canadian government concerning harm reduction, opioids, cannabis, and sentencing are signalling a new approach to managing illicit drug use in Canada.

Meanwhile, a new US administration promises to strengthen an already punitive narcotics regime with consequences for control efforts abroad as well as for cannabis policies in many US states.

This fast-changing landscape makes now the right time to bring together leading voices from across the country to look across the next decade and help identify new opportunities and directions for drug policies in Canada.

On April 4 - 5, 2017, join us as more than 120 researchers, policy-makers, public health officials, law enforcement professionals, drug users and community organizers meet in Ottawa to examine the future of Canada’s domestic and international drug policies.

Hear from more than a dozen speakers and participate in four discussion streams to help shape recommendations concerning:

• International control and management

• Decriminalization, regulation and harm reduction

• Integrating policing and public health

• Strategies for health and social equity in drug policies


Dr. Jane Philpott, MP

Canadian Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott will deliver keynote remarks on the second day of Canada's Drug Futures Forum.


CONFERENCE moderators

Conference Program: April 4-5,2017

Canada's Drug Futures Forum is a special two-day event designed to take the long view and map out an agenda for the next decade of drug policy reform in Canada.

Featuring more than twenty leading and new voices from across Canada, the Americas and Europe, the Forum is organized to address four themes.

Following scene-setting presentations, more than 120 forum participants — researchers, academics, policy-makers and community stakeholders — will work in a series of small, facilitated groups. Together, they will examine potential policy directions in close detail with the goal of reaching consensus on the path ahead.

Forum participants may also apply to host their own session on the morning of the second day — expanding the program and the range of issues the Forum will address.

Following the Forum, the organizing team will release a summary report, which they hope will provide valuable and lasting guidance to governments and their agencies in Canada.



1. International control and management

  • How do we intervene in drug markets constructively?
  • How do changes to drug policies influence cross-border levels of violence, addiction and overdose?
  • How can national policies respond to emerging threats from illicit substances trafficked into Canada?
  • Is there a path to harmonizing drug policies across all three North American countries?

1A: Optimizing supply-side drug market interventions

Leo Beletsky, Associate Professor of Law and Health Sciences, School of Law and Bouvé School of Health Sciences; Faculty Scholar, Institute on Urban Health Research, Northeastern University
Dr. Stephen T. Easton, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University
Dr. Rosalie Pacula, Director, Bing Center for Health Economics; Co-director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center; Senior Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School

1B: Continental border control

Richard Fadden, former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada
Dr. Beau Kilmer, Co-director and Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Drug Policy Research Centre
Dr. Kasia Malinowska, Director, Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations

2. Integrating policing and public health

  • How can the skills of police and health professionals be better aligned to address community needs?
  • How can move beyond“diversion” and toward substantive services not rooted in the criminal justice system?
  • What lessons can drug courts teach us for developing new forms of partnerships?

2A: Inter-institutional collaborations between police and health professionals for first response

Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Pugel, King County Sheriff’s Office and former Chief of the Seattle Police
Dr. Mark Tyndall
, Executive Director, BC Centre for Disease Control
Senator Vernon White, Senate of Canada and former Chief of the Ottawa Police

2B: System-wide shifts in justice policy and practice, to reduce harms and improve treatment and public safety outcomes

Justice Mary Hogan, Ontario Court of Justice
Meredith Porter, Member of the Social Security Tribunal - Appeals Division

4. Strategies for health and social equity

  • How can we reform the justice system to reduce persistent racial inequities in Canada?
  • How might Canadian programs and policies contribute to better health and social outcomes for women and Indigenous peoples (of all genders) who use drugs, their families and the broader community?


 4A: Undoing racialized harms of drug law enforcement

Caitlyn Kasper, Staff Lawyer, Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
Robyn Maynard, Community Activist and Writer
Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto


Equity in harm reduction and treatment

Andy Bond, Senior Director of Housing and Program Operations, PHS Community Services Society (PHS)
Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW)

3. Decriminalization and regulation

  • How do we determine appropriate models of control for different types of drugs in Canada based on global best practice?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges associated with drug regulation, and how can the latter be mitigated?
  • What concrete steps would need to be taken to explore the feasibility of regulation systems for currently illegal drugs in Canada?

 3A: Drug regulation: opportunities and challenges

Dr. Mark Kleiman, Affiliated Faculty, NYU Wagner; Professor of Public Service, NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management
Dr. Mark Ware, Associate Professor, Family Medicine and Anesthesia, McGill University; Vice Chair of the Government of Canada Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation

 3B: Models of decriminalization: exploring global best practices

Manuel Cardoso, Deputy General-Director, General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies
Ann Fordham, Executive Director, International Drug Policy Consortium

With plenary presentations from:  

  • Don Davies, NDP Health Critic, Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway
  • Mae Katt, Nurse Practitioner, Temagami First Nation
  • Hon. Dr. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Government of Canada
  • Jordan Westfall, President, Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD)

Conference Organizers

AdviSOry cOmmittee:

Adam Blackwell, Former Secretary of Multi-Dimensional Security, Organization of American States

prof. timothy caulfield, Health Law Institute, University of Alberta

dr. Jean daudelin, Norman Paterson School of Public Affairs, Carleton University

dr. Jocelyn downie, Faculties of Law and Medicine, Dalhousie University

richard elliott, Canadian HIV/ AIDS Legal Network

elaine Feldman, Centre on Public Management and Policy, University of Ottawa

dR. Steven J. hoffman, Global Strategy Lab, University of Ottawa

Alexia Jaouich, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

rebecca Jesseman, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

dr. lisa kerr, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University

Sean leblanc, Drug Users Advocacy League Ottawa

megan leslie, Board of Directors, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation

donald macpherson, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

donna may, moms united and mandated to saving the lives of Drug Users

peter mccaffrey, Director of Research, Manning Foundation

Nandini Saxena, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Jillian Stirk, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Mentor

dr. mark tyndall, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control

dr. Frank welsh, Canadian Public Health Association

Jordan westfall, Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs

OrgANiziNg cOmmittee:

Dr. Dan Werb, Chair

Jennifer Peirce

Ayden Scheim

Claudia Stoicescu

Meaghan Thumath


peter macleod (Principal), Adam hasham (Forum Coordinator), Joanna massie, Alex way, caitlin myles, Ana Qarri, and laurie drake.

Committee Coordinator:

Jamie Forrest, PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia

International Centre for Science in Drug Policy:

Nazlee maghsoudi

THANk yOu tO the FOllOwiNg SuppOrterS: