Changes to PPSC's Eligibility Criteria for Drug Treatment Court Programs

Ottawa – January 2, 2024 – The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) has expanded the eligibility for participation in a Drug Treatment Court (DTC). This change is intended to eliminate unnecessary barriers to entry that contribute to discrimination and the overrepresentation of certain groups in the criminal justice system, as well as to enhance public safety across Canada.

Changes have been made to the PPSC Deskbook giving prosecutors greater flexibility on eligibility for DTC programs. Admission to a DTC will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will depend on factors such as risk to public safety, circumstances of the underlying offence and background and systemic factors. Application to a DTC may also occur at any time throughout a prosecution.

Individuals previously convicted of an offence involving violence or who are accused of committing a violent offence will no longer be automatically excluded from the programs. Prosecutors will also have flexibility to design graduation criteria that move away from total abstinence, which is not a realistic goal for all persons suffering from a substance use disorder. The objective of these changes is to reduce criminality for persons with a substance use disorder.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) is a national organization responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest. The PPSC is also responsible for providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across Canada.

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