Drug Treatment Court Funding Program
The Government of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) have reached a tentative agreement, ending the strike affecting many public service members. There may still be some service impacts over the next few days and weeks as services return to full capacity.
The Drug Treatment Court Funding Program provides contribution funding to the provinces and territories to implement drug treatment courts (DTCs). DTCs offer eligible offenders with a substance use disorder the opportunity to complete a court monitored drug treatment program as an alternative to incarceration. This approach recognizes the complex social, economic, cultural, and health factors that contribute to problematic substance use and seeks to prevent re-offending in more comprehensive ways.
Who is Eligible
Provinces and territories are eligible for federal funding for the development, delivery and evaluation of drug treatment courts in Canada.
The Drug Treatment Court Funding Program aims to reduce crime committed as a result of a substance use disorder through court-monitored treatment and community service support for eligible non-violent offenders.
The objectives of the Drug Treatment Court Funding Program are:
- to promote and strengthen the use of alternatives to incarceration with a particular focus on vulnerable populations;
- to support offenders in addressing their cycle of addiction and criminal behavior as a means of reducing criminal recidivism; and
- to collect information and data on the effectiveness of DTCs in order to promote best practices and the continuing refinement of approaches.
Contributions may be provided for the following eligible activities:
- development, delivery and evaluation of a DTC;
- development, implementation and evaluation of innovative meetings, conferences, roundtables that facilitate the building of knowledge and awareness of DTCs; and
- education, professional training and information activities that enhance the knowledge of target populations (criminal justice, health and social service practitioners) to promote best practices and the continuing refinement of approaches.
Key Elements of a DTC
How do DTCs operate in Canada?
DTCs connect clients with treatment providers and community services. They also rely on the support of probation officers, federal and provincial prosecutors, duty counsel, and judges.
The DTC Process
- Application Process: The offender submits a formal application to the DTC soon after an arrest. Any person charged with an offence is encouraged to apply for a DTC program in circumstances where a substance use disorder has contributed to the offence being committed.
- Crown Screening: The Crown attorney reviews applications and assesses them against specified eligibility criteria depending on the specific DTC site (e.g., non-violent offenders and criminal behaviour that is a result of a substance use disorder, guilty plea to criminal charges).
- Admission Process: Eligible applicants are interviewed by treatment personnel to determine their needs. The case is then presented to the DTC judge. If rejected, the offender will be returned to the regular court process.
- DTC Program Participation: Prior to program commencement, the participant must plead guilty to the charges laid before them. Once admitted to the program, participants make regular court appearances, submit to random and frequent drug testing, and attend scheduled treatment sessions.
- Program Completion: A participant is generally required to stay in the DTC program for 12 to 18 months. To successfully complete the program, participants must meet several criteria established by the DTC, which typically refer to compliance with program conditions, no further criminal convictions, indicators of social stability, and a period of abstinence from substance use. Participants who successfully complete the DTC program may receive a non-custodial sentence.
How to Apply for Funding
To apply for funding, please contact the Department of Justice Canada using the coordinates indicated in the “Contact Information” section below.
You are encouraged to submit all documents electronically.
Publications and Resources
- Evaluation of the Drug Treatment Court Funding Program
- Public Prosecution Service of Canada Deskbook on Drug Treatment Courts
- Substance Use Resources
Department of Justice Canada
284 Wellington Street, 6th floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
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