About the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act

The growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids (powerful pain relieving drugs, including fentanyl) is a national public health crisis. Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a priority for the Government of Canada.

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act is part of the Government’s comprehensive approach to addressing the crisis. It will help encourage Canadians to save a life during an overdose situation.

About the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection for individuals who seek emergency help during an overdose. The act became law on May 4, 2017. It complements the new Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, our comprehensive public health approach to substance use. Harm reduction is a key part of the strategy alongside prevention, treatment, and enforcement.

The act also supports the Federal Action on Opioids and the Joint Statement of Action to address the opioid crisis and prevent further overdose deaths.

We hope the act will help to reduce fear of police attending overdose events and encourage people to help save a life.

Legal protection granted by the act

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides some legal protection for people who experience or witness an overdose and call 9-1-1 for help.

The act can protect you if you are in breach of the following conditions under section 4 (1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:

  • parole
  • pre-trial release
  • probation orders
  • simple possession
  • conditional sentences

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act applies to anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. The act protects those who either stay or leave from the overdose scene before help arrives.

The act does not provide legal protection against more serious offences, such as:

  • outstanding warrants
  • production and trafficking of controlled substances
  • all other crimes not outlined within the act

Save a life

Drug overdoses often happen with others around. Staying at the scene is important to save the life of the person experiencing an overdose.

Witnesses should:

  • call for emergency help
  • be prepared by carrying naloxone to use if you suspect an opioid overdose
  • provide first aid, including rescue breathing (CPR), if necessary, until emergency help arrives
  • stay calm and reassure the person that help is on the way

Tell others about the new Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.

For more information, please see the Good Samaritan information bulletin.

Recent Announcements

December 21, 2023
Crisis LIne is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Review our office hours and CD Group Schedule over the holidays.
December 12, 2023
St. Leonard's Community Services, Housing Services is thrilled to announce the receipt of a $75,000 grant from The Home Depot Canada Foundation to implement a new Shelter Diversion program within our youth shelters in partnership with The RAFT.
November 14, 2023
St. Leonard’s Community Services has a variety of resources, programs, and services available to those experiencing or supporting someone experiencing an addiction. Here are just some of those resources available.
October 20, 2023
Our team wants to meet YOU! Bring your resume and you could be chosen for an interview on the spot. Successful candidates can receive an instant job offer.
September 22, 2023
The Board of Directors invites you to join us for the 55th Annual General Meeting of St. Leonard’s Community Services.
September 17, 2023
Come out and meet a wide variety of employers across different industries.  October 11, 2023 from 3pm to 5pm at the Best Western Brantford Hotel and Conference Centre (19 Holiday Dr, Brantford). Bring multiple copies of your resume, dress to impress, and be prepared for on the spot interviews!