Toronto public health officials say the federal government should decriminalize all drugs for personal use in an effort to fight the opioid epidemic that has claimed hundreds of lives in recent years.
The agency says the task force should include people who use drugs as well as experts in a variety of fields, including policy, public health and mental health.
The recommendation comes following a public consultation process that found many Torontonians don't believe the current approach to dealing with drugs is working - especially with opioid-overdose deaths reaching record levels across Canada.
"Our belief, based on the evidence, is that the criminalization of people who take drugs actually is contributing to this opioid-overdose emergency in our city, because it forces people into unsafe drug practices and actually presents a barrier to those who might be interested in seeking help for addressing opioid-use disorders", she said.
"This is why I am calling on the federal government to take urgent action".
De Villa is also urging the federal government to consider going one step further, striking a task force that could explore the idea of legalising and strictly regulating all drugs, echoing the approach now used for alcohol.
The report will also recommend the City should scale up prevention, harm reduction, and treatment services.
"These are our friends, they're our family members, they're our colleagues", she said.
The public consultation was done in response to the opioid crisis now happening across the country.
Preliminary data from the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario shows opioid overdose deaths in Toronto continue to increase and in 2017, there were 303 opioid overdose deaths in the city. That marks a 121 per cent increase from 2015. A motion on the matter will be considered at an upcoming meeting of Toronto's Board of Health.