Federal prosecutors told to avoid drug possession charges when possible in new directive

Criminal Code charges should be sought only in 'most serious cases,' says director of public prosecutions
CBC News (Canada)
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

handcuffsFederal lawyers are being asked to avoid prosecuting simple drug possession cases unless major public safety concerns are at play — a move that comes amid a push on the federal government to reconsider decriminalization. The directive, which was issued earlier this week, revises the Public Prosecution Service of Canada's (PPSC) approach to simple possession offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Director of Public Prosecutions Kathleen Roussel is now asking her team of lawyers to focus on seeking charges only in "the most serious cases" and to otherwise ask for alternative measures, such as restorative justice and Indigenous approaches to divert simple possession cases away from the criminal justice system.