Canadian Government Announces Changes to Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Today, Minister of Health Jane Philpott announced amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act. Bill C-37 has been introduced to replace Canada’s “anti-drug strategy” with a harm reduction model.

The new Canadian drugs and substances strategy will shift many responsibilities from the Minister of Justice to the Minister of Health.

The legislative details of Bill C-37 will provide information on opening more harm-reduction sites.

Five years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of safe consumption sites. The Liberal plan is to reverse Conservative trends by creating a regulatory framework and focusing on substance abuse as a mental health issue.

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale spoke to border control changes as part of the new strategy.

The bill plans to increase the authority of Canadian border agents by allowing them to inspect packages less than 30 grams in weight without consent of the sender. Currently, they are limited by the package’s size.

The government expects the bill to pass in a number of months, stressing urgency.

The government focused on opioid abuse, like fentanyl overdoses, with no word on cannabis legalization.  When asked about dispensary raids as a waste of police resources, Goodale reiterated the mantra that the “law is the law,” and that obeying the law is a “fundamental precept” of the rule of law.

Legalizing cannabis, said Goodale, must be done in a “thoughtful and orderly” manner. He appealed to the Spring of 2017 when the Liberals plan to restrict and regulate cannabis.