Mental Health Amendments: The speech I would have given

PODCAST: Mental Health Amendments – The speech I would have given

In this episode of The Public Circle Podcast I share a recording of the second reading speech I would have stood and delivered in response to Bill 22: The Mental Health Amendment Act (2020).

You will find more details about the proposed legislation in the opening to the podcast and details about why we were challenged by the language in the bill in my speech.

Here is the B.C. Green Caucus media release in response to Minister Judy Darcy's decision to not proceed with the bill at this time.


[Transcript]

Hello my name is Adam Olsen, Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for Saanich North and the Islands.

You are listening to the Public Circle Podcast.

This is a special episode of the podcast recorded from my legislative office in the B.C. Legislative Assembly in Victoria. Bill 22 is one of the more contentious Bill’s to be considered in the Summer 2020 session of the legislature.

The Mental Health Amendment Act 2020 provides healthcare providers the ability to detain youth experiencing a drug poisoning for between 48 hours and 7 days.

The goal of the legislation is to stabilize the overdosing youth, provide access to some supports, and create a plan before discharging them.

When the Bill was introduced it was met with an immediate response from the Representative of Children and Youth and the Chief Coroner who pushed back due to the potential consequences of the policy.

Over the days that followed we heard many other experts and stakeholders raise similar concerns.

While there was some support for the policy at a high level, my colleague Sonia Furstenau and I, in the BC Green Caucus, were concerned about how it was going to be applied.

Of the greatest concern was the impact on Indigenous youth. With illicit drug poisonings of Indignenous people, youth specifically, skyrocketing this year, and an ongoing investigation of systemic racism in the healthcare system, the overwhelming and consistent message that the Ministry had not undertaken the proper consultation as per our commitment in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, passed unanimously last Fall, the challenges were stacking up against the Bill passing this session.

As we dug into many areas of the Bill we found more and more instances of concerning legal language that would need to be fleshed out in the regulatory making process once the Bill was passed.

We were concerned from the very beginning that once it became law the ability for us to protect against some of the potential outcomes would be lost.

Throughout the next few weeks we met with Judy Darcy, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and we raised these concerns directly with her. We suggested that we were not comfortable passing the legislation without a clearer understanding of how the regulation-making process was going to play out.

We are thankful to the openness and honest approach Minister Darcy took with respect to our concerns. The BC Green Caucus suggested to the Minister that she go back to Indigenous leaders and health professionals and do the consultation work.

We wanted to see the Ministry complete the consultation and bring the Bill back to be debated in the Fall session that is currently scheduled to start in October. At that point the Bill might be better informed, and the regulations drafted.

We felt this was an appropriate course of action because we knew the legislation we passed would not come into force until the regulations were made anyway. So let’s be clear, this was not a delay, but rather just a different process than is normal.

Minister Darcy has since put out a statement informing the public that she has paused the process and Bill 22 will not be brought forward for second reading in this session.

Over the past few weeks, while we have been working in the background. We prepared second reading speeches for Sonia and I to speak publicly to the challenges we have regarding Bill 22 at second reading. We have been silent on our work to date in honour of the respect given by the Minister to our concerns, and to allow the information gathering process to be fulsome.

In this episode of the Public Circle Podcast I am sharing a recording of the speech I had prepared as a response to the Bill but was not able to give on the floor of the Chamber.

It is about 30 minutes long and goes into detail about the concerns have on this legislation as it currently is written and I believe it’s important that people know where the BC Green Caucus stands on the policy, regulations and approach of the Ministry.

Here is my second reading speech to Bill 22, The Mental Health Amendment Act.

...

Today I stand to speak to Bill 22, the Mental Health Amendment Act.

I am the BC Green Caucus designated speaker. When I use the word Indigenous in these remarks I am referring to Metis, Inuit and First Nations people.
For the last five months our province has been gripped by two concurrent and overlapping public health emergencies.

The first has been unrelenting since April 2016, when a significant spike in opioid-related overdose deaths triggered the official emergency declaration.

The second, of course, is the COVID-19 global pandemic that swept into Canada earlier this year.

There are big differences in how we have responded to these crises. For one we have rightfully moved heaven and earth to protect our province’s most vulnerable - with considerable success so far, at least compared to average infection rates. For the other our collective response has been slow, cautious, painful, and largely ineffective.

In the last five months we have, tragically, lost 189 beloved British Columbians to COVID-19.

In the last four years we have, tragically, horrifically, lost 5,565 beloved British Columbians to opioid poisoning. 5,565. With 170 people dying in May alone. And an additional 175 in June.

Before I begin with Bill 22 today I would like to pause in somber recognition of these British Columbians. It is impossible to properly articulate the depth of the sorrow, the weight of the heartache that continues to blanket BC. With every loss our future dims and I know the world looks completely dark for a lot of people - families who have lost a child or are terrified they will.

Families who are doing everything - everything - possible to save the ones they love. I see you, and I am so sorry you have not been better supported. This bill is no doubt of critical importance to you. As I proceed with my work on this legislation I will make every effort to hold space for your pain and fear, while also being a strong defender of good policy and the people who may be disproportionately harmed by this bill.

While I appreciate that involuntary detainments may be necessary and appropriate for some young people, we can and should do so much more to ensure that the array of voluntary, culturally appropriate, youth-specific harm reduction, treatment and support services are available for British Columbians.

I also know that the glaring absence of these supports and services has left some parents wishing they had the ability to admit and hold their child in hospital because they are desperate for something - anything - that will keep them safe just a bit longer.

I can’t help but feel, though, that if their last hope has become their only hope, we have failed them.

When this bill was tabled, BC’s Chief Coroner and the Representative for Children and Youth released immediate and urgent statements conveying their concern about its likely impact. In the last few weeks I have spoken to countless stakeholders, parents, and practitioners and they have all echoed their worries - leaving me with the following questions:

In the absence of adequate treatment and recovery options, do the amendments in Bill 22 risk making things worse, or do they just fail to make things substantively better for most? Recognizing the bill is currently before the house, would it be better for it to pass, thereby making this treatment tool available for use in the few cases it would be appropriate, or should it fail because it does more to create the illusion of progress on this file than actually improve things? Could it save one life? Would it do so at the cost of others?

These are huge, heavy questions and I have spent many sleepless nights debating them.

This bill intends to help children in crisis, and it is true that there will be some specific cases in which it could help. But the unintended consequences of the bill also pose significant risk to young people, Indigenous youth in particular.

As legislators, it is not our job to write laws for the best case scenario. It is our job to anticipate and protect against the worst. It is our job to evaluate the evidence, consult those impacted and advance solutions.

I worry that this bill rests too much on the former, at the expense of the latter. An air of “trust the state” when it comes to matters of child detainment is not good enough for me, not good enough for what we are collectively aspiring to in 2020.

This is a new era and I demand more. We cannot pass a blank cheque to detain children and trust that it will not disproportionately harm Indigenous kids - when all historic evidence available proves that it will.

So where do all these questions and worries leave me? They leave me understanding of the policy intent, but worried about the possible outcomes.

My preference would be for the Bill to be paused in the House so the Ministry could conduct detailed consultation with stakeholders to address the substantive concerns that have been raised before the bill is passed. However, I understand government is keen to see it through this session, so my colleague and I have agreed to support second reading debate so the Minister could speak to the intended regulatory process in the hopes that those comments will address some of the issues raised.

With my remaining time I will speak to the bill in great detail because everyone who cares about this legislation deserves to know exactly why I have reached this decision. This includes: our obligations and responsibilities under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the impact of involuntary confinement on patients, the increased risk of overdose deaths, the lack of effective treatment, the exclusion of parental involvement, the risk of adult psych wards being used as stabilization care facilities for youth, the absence of independent review or oversight, and the forced use of chemical, electronic, and physical constraints on young people without their consent.

To start...

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigneous Peoples Act

There is a continuum of colonial, paternalistic, and racist policies in this province that have served (regardless of what their defending rationale was at the time of introduction) to segregate and separate Indigenous children from their families and communities. Residential schools, the Sixies Scoop, the millennial humanitarian crisis in the child welfare system...

Similar to Bill 22, these policies - which we all now agree are abhorrent - also claimed to be in the, quote, “best interest of the child.” Their best interest… as decided by the state has a horrific track record.

In our province, the data is clear about the outcomes for Indigenous children in government care. They are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to end up homeless or involved with the justice system. They are at greater risk of abuse, assault, addiction, overdose, and suicide. And they are more likely to have their own children apprehended, perpetuating the cycle of suffering and hardship. The younger children are when they are taken into care, the longer they stay in care, the worse their outcomes. The intergenerational impacts of the system are severe and tragic.

Further to that, Section 72 (2) (i) of Bill 22 explicitly authorizes hospital staff to collect personal information about youth and their case for the purpose of sharing it with other government agencies and ministries – which I read to mean the child welfare system and the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The cycle continues. What safeguards are in place to ensure that it won’t?

Institutional evaluations of Indigenous peoples are frequently biased with values linked to paternalistic, racist, sexist, or ableist biases that centre white, straight, middle class families as the norm. If we think this bill won’t fall prey to the same prejudices, or that it will be saved by Section 45 - a requirement for the doctor (who is most likely non-Indigneous) to consider whether the youth’s culture is relevant - you are dangerously underestimating the power of bias.

Consider whether their culture is relevant to what end? Where is the requirement to do something with that assessment? Where is the guidance or support or resources that will help health officials appropriately integrate a cultural assessment into their treatment plan?

As currently outlined, available data strongly suggests that Bill 22 will result in another form of detention that is disproportionately used on Indigenous youth. The Bill appears to undermine BC’s commitments under UNDRIP, the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This is especially concerning given the recent revelations of systemic racism within the healthcare system.

In their letter to government, the First Nations Leadership Council wrote:

“These amendments do not reflect principles contained in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and do not align with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, despite the disproportionate impact these amendments will have on Indigenous youth.

“If passed, the proposed amendments will add yet another legal mechanism in which the rights and freedoms of First Nations youth are ignored. It is especially troubling that these legislative amendments are being tabled at a time where the reality of systemic and blatant racism towards Indigenous and other persons of colour are being brought to the forefront.”

The legacy of colonization has resulted in an overrepresentation of Indigenous youth within state systems and among youth who use substances.

As reported by the First Nations Health Authority this month, the number of deaths from illicit drugs among First Nations and Métis people and Inuit in B.C. between January and May of this year jumped by 93 per cent compared with the same period last year.

As written in the Globe and Mail, “The numbers show the need for accessible treatment, a safer drug supply and culturally appropriate medical care, health officials say.”

Continuing, “Many of our community members have very specifically said they don’t feel safe going to the hospital or even calling for an ambulance for the fear that they will be treated badly and not receive any kind of support beyond the immediate need of treating an overdose,” said Shannon McDonald, Acting Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority.”

Accessible treatment, a safer drug supply and culturally appropriate medical care… nowhere does it say, things would be better if we had the ability to detain children and teenagers in the hospital for a week.

Accessible treatment, a safer drug supply and culturally appropriate medical care.

Which leads me to my next concern:

The lack of voluntary treatment and recovery options.

Creating involuntary stabilization units for youth in the absence of adequate voluntary community-based services to address substance use – services such as culturally appropriate, youth-specific and youth-friendly voluntary detox, intensive case management, day treatment and community residential treatment - will mean we fail to truly help the young person.

Many argue that short-term, involuntary periods of hospitalization can further alienate young people from their families and community supports and, in fact, may put some youth at greater risk if they return to using substances upon their release due to their lowered opioid tolerance and the high likelihood of relapse upon discharge.

On this topic the Representative for Children and Youth wrote:

“I am disappointed by government’s move to create involuntary stabilization units for youth in the absence of a full array of voluntary community-based services to address substance use – services such as culturally appropriate, youth-specific and youth-friendly voluntary detox, intensive case management, day treatment and community residential Treatment… As described in our March 2020 report on services across B.C. – the particulars of which were validated by health authorities – the system is woefully inadequate. Where will youth go once their short-term, involuntary hospitalization is over when community-based treatment services are limited or don’t exist?”

In a similar tone the province’s Chief Coroner wrote:

“As evidenced by previous inquest and death review panel recommendations, there is a recognized need for a comprehensive, culturally safe system of care and treatment for those experiencing problematic substance use in B.C., including youth. Without an established evidence-based, accessible system of substance-use treatment services, I am concerned there is the potential for serious unintended consequences as a result of these legislative amendments, including the potential for an increase in fatalities.”

And the First Nations Leadership Council wrote:

“The availability of voluntary support services and treatment options for youth dealing with substance use issues is extremely lacking in BC, and an issue that has been highlighted by service providers, advocates, and First Nations for several years. We share and support the concerns that have been raised by the Chief Coroner, the Representative for Children and Youth, and by Health Justice… We recognize the efforts being undertaken by ministries to respond to a dangerous and life-threatening public health crisis, and we are also profoundly concerned with the continually increasing numbers of fatal overdoses in BC. However, a meaningful response must begin with community-based resources and responses that are developed with and by First Nations and others who will be most impacted by these amendments.”

In a written submission to government, members of the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners Association of British Columbia wrote:

“We are concerned that Bill 22 centres on the use of involuntary hospitalization – in this case, called “stabilization care” – in the absence of a robust system of voluntary services needed to enact the Bill’s call for appropriate discharge planning and ongoing treatment for youth. With the current system’s limited capacity to provide voluntary community-based services, there is the strong possibility of unintended consequences such as youth avoiding needed medical treatment for fear of detention or the increased risk of overdose fatalities associated with discharge without reasonable access to ongoing care.”

These are critically serious concerns and I have not yet seen robust data that adequately addresses them. Again, to quote the Chief Coroner (who, incidentally, is the authority responsible for investigating every childhood death in the province and the head of the office that has conducted multiple death review panels into youth overdose fatalities specifically):

“It is irrefutable that those who use opioids develop an opioid tolerance. It is also a fact that opioid tolerance decreases after a period of abstinence; even after as few as 48 hours, tolerance can be diminished. Though the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has advised that it has received advice that the impact of opioid use after a period of abstinence is not as great for youth as for adults, there is no literature supporting that claim. Expert physicians at the BC Centre for Substance Use, advise that there are no studies or available information that suggest youth are somehow protected from the effects of lowered tolerance. Thus, youth who are involuntarily detained for a period of 48 hours to 7 days, who then return to substance use, are at significantly higher risk for a fatal overdose event.”

I share the Chief Coroner’s sentiment that this is a catastrophic potential outcome of the proposed Mental Health Act amendments.

To the issue of involuntary confinement..

Involuntary confinement

BC already over-relies on involuntary confinement as medical care and this bill could worsen that trend.

According to the Ombudsperson’s Special Report No. 42, Committed to Change: Protecting the Rights of Involuntary Patients under the Mental Health Act, from March 2019, the rates of detentions under BC’s Mental Health Act have been increasing dramatically – rising by approximately 71% between 2005/06 and 2016/17 to over 20,000 detentions annually. Over that same time, the rate of voluntary admissions decreased per capita. As stated in government’s A Pathway to Hope report, BC now has the highest rate of hospitalization due to mental illness and substance use in Canada. In recent years, girls and young women have been the fastest growing population detained under the Mental Health Act.

Indigenous youth are at risk of being disproportionately affected by these involuntary measures, just as they are by other intrusive and coercive state measures such as the child protection and criminal justice systems. In addition, as mentioned, serious concerns have been raised about further traumatization of detainment, systemic racism and lack of cultural appropriateness in our healthcare system.

Take Section 55 of this bill, for example, which details the limits on stabilization care. It reads:

A director of a stabilization facility must not detain a youth in the facility by use of any chemical, electronic, mechanical, physical or other means to control or restrict the youth's freedom of movement except
(a) as necessary to protect the youth or others from harm, or
(b) to accommodate the youth in a locked ward or other defined area.

You can’t detain them with chemical, electronic, mechanical, physical means against their will... unless you need to, in which case, the choice is yours.

Let me repeat that, You can’t detain them with chemical, electronic, mechanical, physical means against their will... unless you need to, in which case, the choice is yours.

Anything could be judged potentially harmful in that setting, and of course detained youth who don’t want to be there will try to leave. Those behaviours should be anticipated from a teenager who has just suffered a life threatening overdose and is now being detained against their will, without their parents or legal representation. It is unreasonable and unfair to expect them to respond with patience or diplomacy in that situation and, for me, it is unethical to punish them with chemical, electronic, or mechanical restraints for acting out on the worst day of their life.

The minister needs to explain why this bill has such a shockingly low threshold for the use of these controls. Other jurisdictions have banned the use of restraints on children and youth altogether, other acts require a threshold of “imminent bodily harm” before they can be used as a last resort.

What are we talking about when we authorize the use of chemical, electronic, or mechanical controls on children and youth anyways? Are we referring to sedating them, tasering them, and tying them up? That’s how we’re going to respond to their health crisis? That is what we are referring to as care?

And how - when data suggests people perceive Black children and youth as more mature and less innocent than their white counterparts - will the minister guarantee that these punitive measures won’t be used disproportionately on People of Colour?

I suspect the ministry would say, no, this is just in extreme cases where someone could get hurt. The Minister may say that it is better than what is already happening under the broader Mental Health Act. I get that. But to my opening comments: our job is to anticipate the worst and protect against it. And if the worst is already happening we need to go back and fix that too.

To the role of parents in these cases...

Parental involvement

There is concern that Bill 22, as drafted, would remove parental involvement in a child’s or youth’s medical care. It authorizes the provision of involuntary health care during detention while excluding parents/guardians from those decisions.

The bill also allows facilities to select which adults they believe will act in the youth's best interests when deciding who to notify of the youth’s detention, which, in turn, allows facilities to not notify the youth’s parent/guardian.

Even if someone is judged to be a “bad” parent or perhaps perceived to be a drug user themselves, that does not mean they should automatically lose the right to be involved in their child’s medical care, especially as judged by people unfamiliar with the family in on-the-fly assessments. In the worst of the worst parenting cases we rely on the judicial system to restrict parent’s rights.

If the policy goal was to allow for the exclusion of parents/guardians in cases where the youth may not want them involved – which could be common – this is not clearly achieved as it gives the power to include/exclude to the medical staff, not the youth.

Serious concerns have also been raised about the so-called “responsible adult” provision being used disproportionately to exclude Indigenous parents or guardians, as is already occurring under the Child, Family and Community Service Act.

Unfortunately, in my experience and from the stories I have heard, the Indigenous parents are rarely seen as responsible adults. This is a hard reality for us to acknowledge. While the situation is changing we still have a long way to go. We have stigmatized addicts, we have stigmatized Indigenous people and when we create legislation that leaves it so unclear the definition of responsible I fear that these vague words could have troubling consequences.

Stabilization care centers

Instead of creating new stabilization care spaces (which is what we assumed was happening based on the Minister’s statements and early briefings), this bill seeks to reallocate existing areas within the hospital. It seems possible that it could designate portions of psychology wards to be ‘stabilization care’ facilities, without providing provisions for how those areas will be different or better suited to kids in crisis. As such, it may lead to children being detained alongside adults in severe psychological distress. This would not only be harmful to the wellbeing and medical outcomes for the youth, it may also be in violation of Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states:

(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
(c) Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances;

Again, the minister says this is not the intent. I believe her, but we need to see the guarantee that this won’t be the outcome.

To oversight...

Independent review

Bill 22 does not provide the right to challenge the detention order to an independent tribunal or court. Instead, detention reviews are to be conducted by any “physician other than the recommending physician who made the certificate” (which, presumably, would be a colleague at the same facility) and if none is “reasonably available” the same physician who recommended detention reviews their own decision. It should be clear that having a doctor review their own orders after a complaint is not consistent with best practice, even within other sections of the Mental Health Act. I also find it strange that the bill anticipates situations in which there would be no other physicians available in an entire hospital or health region...

In addition, the bill does not provide a way to access the constitutionally guaranteed right to independent legal advice and advocacy, despite government’s commitment to establishing such a service. Section 52 (2) (a) does require that the detained youth be advised of their “rights under section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” but even this seems woefully inadequate given the context. We are talking about a teenager who has just suffered a life threatening drug overdose and we expect them to a) know what their section 10 rights are (right to be informed of the reason for the retention, right to retain legal counsel, right to have the validity of the detention determined by way of Habeus Corpus), and b) have the means or ability to retain a lawyer?

From my reading of this section, we are offering kids an empty assurance of their rights and disconnecting them with the ability to defend them.

Administration of medication and treatment without consent

In public comments about this bill we have been explicitly told it will not allow for the administration of any medication against the will of the patient. That is a crucially important aspect to me, as the Minister has said it is to her as well.

Section 55, however, seems to do exactly that. As I have already covered, it authorizes facility staff to detain youth and restrict their freedom of movement through any chemical, electronic, mechanical, physical or other means as necessary.

Again, it bears repeating: we are talking about teenagers who have just suffered a life threatening overdose and are now being detained in a hospital. Of course they will be behaving erratically and trying to leave. Any of us would be challenged in that situation, but adolescents even more so as their prefrontal cortexes – the area of the brain associated with planning, working memory, organization, mood regulation, impulse control, judgment and reason – are still developing. It is morally and clinically unreasonable to expect them to be diplomatic and patient in that setting, much less to punish their negative behaviour with sedation.

Recent numbers...

Lastly,

I would also like to situate this bill in the broader crisis we are facing. I don’t do so to take away from the specific challenges facing youth. I recognize they have unique needs and present a critical opportunity for us to intervene early, thereby preventing future harm. Of course - of course - everyone in this Chamber and in this province cares deeply about the wellbeing of our children and youth. But we need to care just as much about those kids after their 19th birthday.

Of the total overdose fatalities in BC from January 1, 2015 to May 31, 2020, 1.3% of them have been young British Columbians under the age of 19.

Here is the data from the Chief Coroner about overdose deaths in 2020 so far:

  • In June 2020, there were 175 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths. This represents a 130% increase over the number of deaths seen in June 2019 (76) and an increase over the 171 deaths in May.
  • The June 2020 total represents the highest number of illicit drug toxicity deaths ever recorded in a month in B.C to date.
  • The number of deaths in each health authority is at or near the highest monthly total ever recorded.
  • In 2020, 68% of those dying were aged 19 to 49, which is consistent with data from 2019 and 2018.
  • Males have accounted for 80% of deaths in 2020 to date, slightly higher than in 2019 (76%) and consistent with 2018 (80%).
  • 85% of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred inside (57% in private residences)
    Fentanyl, Cocaine, and Methamphetamine are most commonly associated with fatalities.

This year’s data is consistent with the coroner’s investigation in 2018, which found:

  • The vast majority (81%) of overdose or drug poisonings killed men. Many of them (45%) were married, most lived and died in their private residence.
  • Nearly half (44%) of them were employed at the time of death. And of those who were employed, 55% were employed in the trades and transport industry.
  • 79% of people who died of illicit drug overdose had contact with health services in the year preceding death and over half (56%) of those people had contacts for pain-related issues.
  • More than half of the cohort (52%) were reported to have had a clinical diagnosis or anecdotal evidence of a mental health disorder.
  • The majority of people had used their drugs alone (69%). This was true across all health authorities, health service delivery areas, and age groups. Note that these individuals may have resided with others, but were unaccompanied at the time of consumption.

Our men are not well. We need to save the children, but we also need to care for them when they grow up to be men. Men who are using and dying alone.

Conclusion

When you evaluate the challenges facing people who struggle with drug use in BC, young people especially, it is painfully clear (and documented in government’s own report) that we have a gap in services, not a gap in law.

Locking up young people against their will is not what the vast majority need in order to recover and heal. What they need is culturally appropriate, youth-specific and youth-friendly voluntary detox, intensive case management, day treatment and community residential treatment - accessible and available where they are, when they are ready.

After extensive deliberation and discussion with the Minister, my colleague and I have been reassured that all of the comments raised here today will be addressed through regulation and clinical standards. This worries me, given the importance of the policy in front of us.

However, I do recognize that the Minister and her team have undertaken considerable effort in the last few weeks to flesh that out further. In recognition of that commitment we agreed to support the second reading of this bill so the minister could speak to it in greater detail. Having these comments on the record will allow me to take them to stakeholders for another round of consultation. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough, but I will do my best to find a safe path forward.

...

Thank you for listening to this special episode of The Public Circle Podcast.

If you have any feedback about this episode or any other constituency or legislative related aspect of my work please do not hesitate to contact me.

You can email me at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or you can call our constituency office at 250-655-5600.

I blog regularly, you can find my writing at https://www.adamolsenmla.ca/

Thank you for listening, until next time HIÁȻE.


Image by Лечение наркомании from Pixabay


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