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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume 2 - Policies and Practices In Canada
Chapter 12 - The National Legislative Context
Part VI – General

Sections 44 to 60 are general provisions. For example, sections 44, 45 and 51 concern the designation of analysts, the scope of their duties and the admissibility of their reports at trial.

Section 46 creates a general penalty applying to anyone who contravenes a provision of the Act for which no penalty is specifically provided or contravenes a regulation. An indictable offence is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or three years’ imprisonment. An offence punishable on summary conviction results in a $1,000 fine and/or six months' imprisonment.

Under section 47, summary convictions for certain offences under the act and regulations must be commenced within one year of the commission of the offence. All other summary procedures must be commenced within six months of the offence.

Other sections concern the following matters: that the prosecutor is not required, except by way of rebuttal, to prove that a certificate, licence, permit or other qualification does not operate in favour of the accused (section 48); that a copy of any document filed with a department is admissible in evidence without proof of the signature of the authority (section 49); that a certificate issued to a police officer exempting him from the act or its regulations is admissible in evidence at trial and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof that the certificate or other document was validly issued, without proof of the signature or official character of the person purporting to have certified it, although the defence may, with leave of the court, cross-examine the person who issued the certificate (section 50); that the giving of any document may be proved by oral evidence, affidavit or solemn declaration, even though the court may require the signatory to appear (section 52); that the continuity of possession of any exhibit tendered as evidence in a proceeding may be proved by the testimony, affidavit or solemn declaration of the person claiming to have had it in his possession (section 53); and that certified copies of records, books, electronic data or other documents seized may be presented as admissible evidence by the Minister's officer, the copied versions having the same probative force as the originals, unless the accused submits evidence to the contrary (section 54).

Subsection 55(1) establishes the power of the Governor in Council to make regulations. One of the objectives of Canada's drug policy was to monitor the legal trade in scheduled drugs for medical or scientific purposes. The CSDA significantly enhanced the Governor in Council's power to make regulations with respect to designated substances and precursors. The regulations made under the CSDA apply in particular to businesses, physicians and pharmacists. The Governor in Council may thus make regulations, with respect to the designated substances or precursors:


vv     Governing, controlling, limiting, authorizing the importation and exportation, production, packaging, sending, transportation, delivery, sale, administration, possession or obtaining of those substances or precursors;

vv     Issuing permits to businesses or persons permitting the aforementioned activities, defining the terms and conditions of payment and their revocation, and determining the qualifications required of permit holders;

vv     Controlling the methods of production, storing, packaging and restricting the advertising, if necessary, for the sale of those substances;

vv     Governing the books, records, electronic data or other documents that must be established by the businesses, physicians or pharmacists or any other permit holder engaged in the activities enumerated in the first point;

vv     Authorizing, if necessary, the communication of information obtained through investigations conducted by the inspectors of the Department of Health to provincial authorities in respect of a serious contravention of the regulations concerning the activities defined in the first point so that they may take disciplinary measures;

vv     Exempting, on conditions set out in the regulations, any person or class of persons from the application of section 55.


Under subsection 55(2), the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Solicitor General of Canada, may make regulations that pertain to investigations and other law enforcement activities. This includes regulations exempting police officers, in certain circumstances, from the application of Part I of the Act (Offences and Penalties).

Under section 56, the Minister may, on such terms and conditions as the Minister deems necessary, exempt any person or class of persons or any controlled substance or precursor or any class thereof from the application of all or any of the provisions of the act or the regulations if, in the opinion of the Minister, the exemption is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest. Section 57 concerns the delegation of the powers of the Minister and the Solicitor General.

Section 58 provides that the provisions of the act and the regulations made under it prevail over any incompatible provisions of the Food and Drugs Act or its regulations.

Section 59 makes it an offence to make or assent to the making of a false or misleading statement in any book, record, return or other document that must be made under the act or regulations.

As mentioned, under section 60, the Governor in Council may amend any schedule to add or delete a controlled substance.


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