Harper Government Takes Action to Improve Drug Control

Proposed changes will better protect the health and safety of Canadians

OTTAWA, June 11, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, along with Roxanne James, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced a series of proposed enhancements to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA); updating Health Canada's nearly two-decade-old rules for drug control.

The CDSA has two core objectives: protecting public health and maintaining public safety. There are a number of areas where Health Canada inspectors, as well as the police, require updated legal authorities in order to keep up with the evolving drug trade. The new legislation introduced today is designed to address those needs, and to address new drug abuse issues. The proposed changes to the CDSA will equip the Minister of Health and law enforcement officials with better tools to more quickly control dangerous new drugs, combat illegal drug production and distribution, and enable Health Canada inspectors to more effectively ensure compliance in the legitimate controlled substance industry.

This action demonstrates the Government's commitment to safe and healthy communities by better protecting Canadians against the introduction of new designer drugs marketed to youth, and the ongoing problem of prescription drug abuse.

Quick Facts

  • The updated Act would give the Minister of Health modern and effective tools to respond to changes in the illegal drug market, including the authority to quickly control potentially dangerous new drugs.
  • The amendments enhance law enforcement's ability to dispose of seized goods more efficiently and safely, and strengthen criminal penalties for the illegal possession, production or sale of chemicals or equipment intended for use in the illegal production of a controlled substance.
  • Proposed amendments also respond to the Government's commitment to address prescription drug abuse by strengthening the ability to inspect, monitor and regulate the movement of controlled substances within the legal supply chain, minimizing the potential for diversion.
  • Amendments will make it easier to dispose of seized material where there is a health or safety risk to those involved resulting in safer environments, efficiencies and cost savings for police.
  • The illicit drug market is innovative, and has created new "designer" drugs that should be subject to the CDSA but are not yet regulated.  This new authority will allow the Minister of Health to quickly schedule new substances, allowing for swift action as new drugs appear.
  • New authorities to levy fines will provide inspectors with more flexibility when bringing companies into compliance.
  • This legislation is in keeping with the Government's National Anti-Drug Strategy which focuses on prevention and access to treatment for those with drug dependencies, while at the same time getting tough on drug dealers and producers who threaten the safety of our youth and communities.
  • This legislation compliments Private Member's Bill, C-475, introduced by Member of Parliament, John Weston, which brought in stronger powers for precursor chemicals used in manufacturing methamphetamine.

Quotes

"Our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians. The series of proposed changes introduced today will help protect our communities from dangerous drugs and ensure appropriate consequences for all those involved in the production and trafficking of such substances."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

"The amendments introduced today will allow our Government to better address the rapidly evolving threat caused by illegal drug production and distribution and is another positive step towards keeping Canadian streets and communities safe."
Roxanne James
Parliamentary Secretary to Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness"

Associated Links

Fact Sheet: Key Features of the Protection of Communities from the Evolving Dangerous Drug Trade Act  
National Anti-Drug Strategy 
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse 
Canada.ca/drugprevention

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media

SOURCE Health Canada

For further information:

Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Health Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709


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