Donald MacPherson, Executive Director
Donald MacPherson is one of Canada’s leading figures in drug policy. He advocates for drug policies based on principles of public health, scientific evidence, human rights, and social inclusion. He is involved in drug policy work at local, national, and international levels, and is a founding member of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Formerly, MacPherson was North America’s first Drug Policy Coordinator at the City of Vancouver where he worked for 22 years. He is the author of Vancouver’s ground-breaking Four Pillars Drug Strategy, which called for new approaches to drug problems based on public health principles and the appropriate regulation of all psychoactive substances.
MacPherson is also co-author of Raise Shit! Social Action Saving Lives (2009) and More Harm than Good: Drug Policy in Canada (2016). In 2007, he received the Kaiser Foundation National Award of Excellence in Public Policy in Canada. In 2009, he was awarded the Richard Dennis Drug Peace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform by the Drug Policy Alliance in the United States, and the City of Vancouver was awarded the Canadian Urban Institute’s Secure City Award for the Four Pillars Drug Strategy.
MacPherson also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for his work in drug policy reform, the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy at Simon Fraser University in 2017, and a lifetime achievement award from the BC Centre on Substance Use in 2019.
Scott Bernstein, Director of Policy
Scott Bernstein is Director of Policy with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, where he leads the organization’s work on legal regulation of drugs, decriminalization, and international drug policy. Through his own legal practice and with Vancouver-based non-profit Pivot Legal Society, Scott has participated in strategic litigation focused on advancing human rights of people who use drugs, including challenging municipal anti-harm reduction bylaws, advocating for access to prescription heroin treatment, and defending Insite, North America’s first sanctioned injection site in the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts.
Prior to joining CDPC, Scott was a program officer with the Global Drug Policy Program of Open Society Foundations in New York. There, he supported collaboration within a global reform movement targeted at the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session through grant-making, policy expertise and strategic planning, as well as supporting a nascent drug policy reform movement in Africa. Scott has a MSc in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin and a JD from the University of British Columbia.
Peter Kim, Strategic Communications Manager
Peter Kim is the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition’s digital and communications strategist, with a passion for high-impact storytelling and extensive experience in the media field. For over a decade he was a digital, broadcast, and data journalist in Vancouver and Toronto, where we worked for Global News, Citytv, and CKNW. As a reporter, he has covered a wide range of topics, from politics to health, technology, and social justice. His experience covering the founding and growth of the Canadian Black Lives Matter movement in Toronto was the impetus for his transition into communications within the social change sector. In 2007, Peter was awarded an RTNDA Dan McArthur Award for In-Depth Investigation, and as a student, founded his school’s chapter of Journalist for Human Rights.
In 2016, Peter was recognized as one of 10 Journalists to Follow by Tableau, the world’s leading enterprise data visualization and analytics platform. He is the founder of the Vancouver chapter of Data for Good, where he has led and managed the growth of a team of over 300 data scientists, engineers, and programmers committed to positive social change. Their first datathon was in support of the Vancouver Overdose Prevention Society and their life-saving work in the Downtown Eastside.
Prior to joining the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Peter was the Communications and Digital Engagement Manager at Pivot Legal Society, where he helped transform and expand the organization’s digital presence and advocacy strategies in service of marginalized communities, including people who use drugs, sex workers, people affected by homelessness, and those impacted by police violence. He is also a part-time college instructor, teaching digital and data visualization.
Imane Tounsi, Program Coordinator
Imane Tounsi is the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition’s Program Coordinator. Imane brings to the team a wealth of over 10 years of international relations and operations management experience related to various international projects.
Prior to joining the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, she was the Office Manager at the Australian embassy in Morocco, where she was an integral member of the team that established Australia’s first embassy in that country. In this role, Imane headed the development and execution of all elements of corporate and administrative policy to support the embassy’s core functions.
Her multidisciplinary background and language skills have allowed her to thrive in a wide range of sectors with international stakeholders such as UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI), UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), the British Embassy Rabat (BER), Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Known among her colleagues for her resilience and charisma, she has established herself as an effective problem solver whose skills are conducive to successful project delivery. By joining the CDPC, she hopes to contribute to positive social change by bringing an international lens to the role and helping realize the organization’s vision for drug policy grounded in public health principles, human rights, and social inclusion.