On this page: The issue: The overdose crisis | The pledge: Find your mayoral candidatesShare on social media

Thank you to everyone who participated in the #DecriminalizeNow campaign for the Toronto by-election. The campaign has ended.

The criminalization of simple drug possession in cities across Ontario is costing lives. Toronto is no exception.

On May 15, RNAO wrote to candidates in Toronto’s 2023 by-election for mayor asking them to sign a pledge to support decriminalizing simple drug possession in Toronto. 

Find out below which candidates signed the pledge.


The issue: The overdose crisis

Accidental opioid-related overdose has been a growing public health crisis for more than two decades. The crisis escalated dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary data from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario suggests that there were 506 opioid toxicity deaths in Toronto in 2022. While the number of deaths in 2022 are lower than the previous two years, the number of deaths is 71 per cent higher than 2019, 172 per cent higher than 2016 and 269 per cent higher than 2015. 

Decriminalizing simple possession of drugs is an effective way of preventing overdose deaths. Continued criminalization of drug possession stigmatizes substance use and people who use certain substances. This stigma creates barriers to health care and forces people to use alone – factors that increase the risk of death from overdose. 

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police have endorsed decriminalizing simple possession as a response to the overdose crisis.

Number of deaths from opioid toxicity, Toronto

Average number of deaths per day in Ontario from overdose


Toronto mayoral candidates

Name Email Pledge signed Twitter handle
Abdulsalam, Bahira bahira@mayorfortoronto.ca   @BahiraR
Acquaye, Emmanuel candidateemmanuel@gmail.com   @candidateemma
Acton, Blake contact@voteacton.com    
Ahmed, Sharif sharif4change@gmail.com    
Alam, Asadul admin@asadul-alam.com    
Allan, Gru Jesse office@gru4mayor.ca   @Gru4Mayor
Aly, Atef      
Apostolopoulos, Dionysios      
Atkinson, Darren     @333atkinson
Bailão, Ana info@anabailao.ca YES @anabailaoTO
Baking, Jose josebaking@gmail.com    
Bankas, Ben     @BenBankas
Beals, Claudette      
Benway, Glen glenbenway@rogers.com    
Bonilla, Eliazar      
Bradford, Brad info@votebradford.ca   @BradMBradford
Brown, Chloe volunteer.cb4to@gmail.com   @chloebrown4TO
Buffey, Brian      
Caesar-Chavannes, Celina info@celinaformayorTO.com YES


Carrie, Mason      
Chan, Roland voterolandchan@gmail.com    
Charlton, Matti retromatti@gmail.com   @retromatti
Chevalier Romero, Danny      
Chow, Olivia info@oliviachow.ca   @oliviachow
Choy, Logan      
Clarke, Kevin kevinclarkemayor@gmail.com   @clarkeformayor1
Climenhaga, Sarah info@votesarah.ca   @SarahC_Toronto
Cohen, Gordon mayor@mayorgordcohen.com   @Gord_Cohen
Collins, Paul      
D'Amico, Frank votedamico@hotmail.com   @VoteDAmico
D'Angelo, Frank mrfrankdangelo@hotmail.com   @FrankDangelo23
D'Cruze, Phillip phil_17us2002@yahoo.ca   @PhillipCruze
Davis, Rob info@robdavis.ca   @CitizenRobDavis
Deb, Samson      
Desai, Habiba votehabibadesai@gmail.com   @habibadesai
Deville, Cory Cory@devilleparty.ca   @iamcorydeville
Fenby, Simryn scfenby@hotmail.com    
Forrester, Monica      
Furey, Anthony ask@furey.ca   @anthonyfurey
Furnival, Scott      
Gamk, Isabella info@isabellafortoronto.ca YES @IsabellaGamk___
Gao, Feng tocitycoin@gmail.com   @tocitycoin
Gong, Xiao Hua gong4mayor@gmail.com   @Gong4Mayor
Goraya, Adil      
Graff, Brian briangraff2023@gmail.com   @Graff2023
Grosman, Ari grosmanari@gmail.com YES @ariformayorTO
Guglielmin, James      
Gulyas, David      
Hall, Thomas      
Handjis, Peter peterhandjisformayor@protonmail.com   @elect_peter
He, Heather heatherhemayor@gmail.com    
Heaps, Toby      
Hossain, Monowar Monowar@bell.net    
Hunter, Mitzie info@mitzieformayor.ca   @MitzieHunter
Igodan, Sheila      
Irmya, Daniel      
Jaffery, Syed JafferyforMayor@gmail.com   @SyedRJaffery
Jensen, Michael      
Johnston, Patricia      
Khan, Walayat      
Korovitsyn, Serge      
Lamoureux, Michael      
Langenfeld, Kris Kris@MayorKris.ca   @KrisLangenfeld
Lee, Rick      
LeLiever, Mark     @MarkLeLiever
Letonja, John john.letonja@yahoo.ca    
MacLeod, Norman      
Mammoliti, Giorgio info@giorgiointo.com   @Giorgiointo
Mann, Steve     @Hydraulist
Marshall, Cleveland      
Matlow, Josh info@votematlow.ca   @JoshMatlow
Mohee, Faizul Dr.Faizul.Mohee.2023June@gmail.com   @Dr_FaizulMohee
Murphy, Bob      
Nicula, Michael mayor@crimetransitinfrastructure.ca   @MichaelNiculaTO
Nowwarah, Jamil      
Perruzza, Anthony vote@perruzza.ca   @voteperruzza
Ransome, John      
Renée, D!ONNE mycity@torontomail.com YES @OnElectionDay
Reodica, Willie willie@reodica.ca    
Rubino, Walter walter@gorubino.com    
Saccoccia, Chris chrisskyforchange@mail.com   @chrissaccoccia1
Sanders, Lyall      
Saunders, Mark campaign@marksaundersfortoronto.ca   @marksaunders_TO
Schipano, Rocco schipanoformayor@gmail.com    
Shusterman, Robert rob.shusterman@gmail.com    
Singh, Knia info@electkniasingh.ca   @masterknia
Singh, Partap Dua      
Sivaneswaran, Raksheni raksheni4the6ix@gmail.com    
Sniedzins, Erwin esniedzins@gmail.com   @sniedzins
Srivastava, Sandeep Info@SrivastavaForMayor.Com   @sandeepitguru
Straus, Meir meir4mayor@gmail.com   @meir4mayor
Tang, Weizhen      
Toye, Mitchell      
Tull, Reginald tullformayor@gmail.com   @tull4mayor
Tunney, Jeffery smallguycleaner@hotmail.com YES @JeffTunney
Vadivelu, Kiri socialistmayor@kiri-vadivelu.ca YES @kiri_vadivelu
Weenen, Jack jcwformayor@gmail.com   @jcwformayor
Wei, Yuanqian      
Williams, Jody jody17Williams@gmail.com    
Winter, John       
Yan, Nathalie Xian Yi      

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Let RNAO and your followers know you support decriminalizing personal drug possession. On Twitter, tag @RNAO and use #DecriminalizeNow.

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