Mississauga Centre MPP Kusendova’s Mandatory Police Training Act Passes Second Reading in Ontario Legislature

Published on May 16, 2019

MISSISSAUGA — Bill 105, The Mandatory Police Training Act, 2019 has entered second reading and debate in the Ontario Legislature. Introduced on May 1st by Mississauga Centre MPP, Natalia Kusendova, this Private Member’s Bill would mandate training for all Police officers, Special Constables, First Nations Officers, the Inspector General and Inspectors under the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 to receive Ministry approved training in the administration of Naloxone in the case of an opioid overdose. This afternoon Bill 105 passed second reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

Ontario has some of the highest rates of opioid poisoning in the country, particularly in the cities of Thunder Bay, Brantford, Sault Ste. Marie, Belleville, and St. Catharines. These increasing trends are also taking a toll on the city of Mississauga. By ensuring front-line officers are trained in recognizing the symptoms of opioid overdoses and in administering Naloxone, MPP Kusendova’s bill promises to put Ontario’s people first and save lives.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and buy additional time for emergency services to arrive on-scene. Naloxone is proven to work within 4 minutes, can be administered consecutively and will only have an effect on persons experiencing an opioid overdose, in other words it can not cause any harm. Naloxone can be administered via injection or nasal inhalant spray.

“Our mission to combat the opioid crisis is a battle that must be fought on all possible fronts. We at the Ontario government are doing our part, and Bill 105 is a crucial step in fighting that battle. The goal is to save lives, and give opioid overdose victims a second chance, a chance to get treatment and recover and become contributing members of our society.” said MPP Kusendova. “The Mandatory Police Training Act will ensure all Police officers will be trained in recognizing the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, and in administering Naloxone. We want each of our Police services across Ontario to have the tools and information they need to do their jobs and save lives.”

“Our government is committed to identifying solutions that help Ontarians struggling with drug addiction stay alive so that they are able to connect with the programs and services they need for treatment and rehabilitation,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “Thank you MPP Kusendova for your advocacy and passion in addressing the opioid crisis.”

“Ontario's Government for the People is helping police officers save lives. Last fall we made a change so police officers would not be subject to an automatic criminal investigation when having used Naloxone in an unsuccessful attempt to revive someone who overdosed. I commend MPP Kusendova for her efforts to support police as Ontario, like other jurisdictions, deals with an opioid crisis.” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

“RNAO is honoured to support Bill 105 – the first private members’ bill of MPP Natalia Kusendova – and drawn from her experience as an RN.  Nurses know that providing training for police will help save lives by equipping them to respond to people suspected of overdose. This is a crucial step in a comprehensive harm reduction approach” said RNAO CEO Doris Grinspun.

“The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) welcomed last November’s announcement by the provincial government that the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) would no longer investigate police officers who administer Naloxone to an overdose victim if that individual dies after the administration of emergency first aid and that was the only police involvement in the situation. Our 18,000 sworn and civilian police personnel members across the province are integral in the fight against the province’s growing opioid crisis, and equipping front-line officers with the tools and resources they need, such as Naloxone, benefits both public safety and their own safety. The PAO is confident in the training that our members receive to recognize when an individual may be experiencing an opioid overdose and to safely and effectively administer Naloxone. We believe there could be value in having a consistent training approach applied throughout all Ontario police services. Whether working to address their community’s addiction issues by removing these often-deadly opioids off the streets or by administering overdose-reversing drugs such as Naloxone to those who are in need, our members are committed to keeping Ontario’s communities safe and saving lives.” Bruce Chapman, President, Police Association of Ontario

“We welcome the addition of Ontario’s police officers to the growing list of individuals trained and prepared to fight the war on opioid overdose. And in this way, all of us working together, we will be putting Ontario’s People first and will be saving lives.” said Allan Malek, Executive Vice-President, Chief Pharmacy Office of the Ontario Pharmacists Association. With the passage of MPP Kusendova’s bill, pretty soon we won’t be talking about numbers of lives lost to opioids – instead, we’ll be talking about lives saved from the brink of overdose.”

“We equip our police officers with Tasers, pepper spray and other less lethal tools to protect and save lives. There is no reason we shouldn’t provide them with naloxone to do the same thing” said Rick Frayne, founder of Music with a Message. “Our community-based forum brings together musicians and insightful speakers for people coming together to recover, talk and learn together, especially those who have been touched by the opioid crisis. Having lost a brother, and knowing many who have also been affected, MPP Kusendova’s Bill speaks to us as a matter of life and death.”

“The opioid crisis is a complex societal issue transcending socioeconomic background, education level, gender, age and more.  Solving it requires multifaceted and innovative solutions,” said Dr. Darryl Gebien, MD, opioid crisis awareness advocate with lived experience, and who lost his mother to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2015.  MPP Kusendova’s Bill 105 is an essential tool needed to combat the opioid crisis from another angle. It is an important first step in the hard work that needs to be done.  Let’s not forget the need for rescue breaths too, when treating those with known or suspected opioid overdoses.”

“Congratulations to MPP Kusendova on your Private Members Bill. Ensuring first responders and members of the public have access to, and know how to properly administer either the nasal spray or injection version of naloxone is an essential part of creating Naloxone Ready Communities.” David Renwick, General Manager, Canada, Adapt Pharma.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Naloxone kits are available for free at pharmacies across the province.
  • Naloxone kits are also available through eligible community organizations
  • Naloxone is effective on opioid overdoses, and causes no harm if opioids are not present.
  • No harm can be caused by giving Naloxone
  • Naloxone is safe to use a second or third time in an opioid overdose
  • 60% of people die of opioid overdoses in their own homes
  • In 2017, 3996 people died from opioid overdoses in Canada
  • 1265 of those deaths occurred in Ontario, 117 aged 15-24, 6 under the age of 14
  • In the first 6 months of 2018, Ontario recoded 629 deaths

MORE INFORMATION:

Media Enquiries: Office of MPP Natalia Kusendova - natalia.kusendova@pc.ola.org