Toronto Public Health held its first meeting of the year on January 23, and among the items on the agenda was improving safety at music venues.
A recommendation on the agenda included a letter from Toronto Councillor Paula Fletcher, who wrote that a Toronto Overdose Action Plan is “a very important component of the ongoing and successful harm reduction strategy in the City of Toronto.”
Concerns regarding safety at large electronic dance music venues rose after the death of a 19-year-old female at Rebel on December 16. Two others were taken to hospital that same night, at the same venue, for drug related overdoses.
“This is not the first time that Toronto EMS has been called to the venue,” Fletcher wrote. According to her letter, the risk management strategy in place that evening did not include Toronto EMS personnel, therefore the patients in need of emergency treatment were not transported to hospitals.
The recommendation to the Board of Health includes a risk management plan that has the presence of Toronto EMS who are permitted to transport patients to hospitals, which may help save lives, Fletcher states.
A request has also been made to develop recommendations for a protocol to improve safety at private venue electronic dance music events which could include policies for preventing and responding to drug overdoses.
Once approved by the Board, it will forward its decision to City Council for further consideration.
Meanwhile, last week, the owners of Rebel were reportedly seeking a new liquor licence for a massive new club on Polson Pier. They have a hearing at the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) on February 9.