In their February 23, 2021 Roadmap for a Renewed Canada-U.S. Partnership, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau reaffirmed their commitment to sustained cooperation to address the opioid overdose crisis through the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Opioids.
On May 26, 2021, the steering committee of the Joint Action Plan, which includes federal officials of the governments of the United States and Canada, met virtually to discuss initiatives designed to further enhance their cooperation.
The Joint Action Plan is designed to strengthen cross-border cooperation and find effective approaches to addressing the opioid overdose crisis across three working groups covering law enforcement, border security, and health. The Plan has facilitated increased information sharing to address the trafficking of opioids, including fentanyl and related substances. It has also been a forum for bilateral discussions on addressing health impacts and public health approaches to opioid-related harms, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the May 26 meeting, the steering committee endorsed the following activities to help address the opioid overdose crisis in 2021:
- Law Enforcement: expand measures to share intelligence to better understand cross-border drug trafficking, make investigations more effective, and disrupt domestic manufacturing of illegal synthetic opioids in Canada and the U.S.
- Border Security: pursue opportunities to share resources and strengthen the capacity of border services personnel to detect and interdict fentanyl, its related substances, and other synthetic opioids illegally crossing our borders.
- Postal Security: formalize Canada-U.S. coordination to target opioids and other illegal drugs shipped through the mail; hold joint training sessions and regular meetings to share information, best practices, and improve our capacities to address this challenge.
- Health: share best practices and approaches to surveillance and applied research evaluating the impacts of COVID-19 measures on the opioid overdose crisis.
By improving our capacities and collaboration, these activities will help Canada and the U.S. become more effective in resolving the opioid overdose crisis.