Health Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada
About Health Canada

Drug Strategy and Controlled Substances Programme

The Drug Strategy and Controlled Substances Programme regulates controlled substances and promotes initiatives that reduce or prevent the harm associated with these substances and alcohol. The Programme also provides expert advice and drug analysis services to law enforcement agencies across the country.

This Programme operates under the mandates of the following legislation:

  • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA)
  • Narcotics Control Regulations
  • Police Enforcement Regulations
  • Regulations Exempting Certain Precursors and Controlled Substances from the Application of the CDSA
  • Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations
  • Industrial Hemp Regulations
  • Part G, Controlled Drugs
  • Part J, Restricted Drugs
  • Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse Act
  • Food and Drugs Act

In September 2006, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, indicated that more information is required on how supervised injection sites affect crime, prevention and treatment. An Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) on Supervised Injection Site Research was established to assist with the research process to obtain this additional information.

Offices and Programs

The following are the Programme's main areas of responsibility:

Director General's Office

Director General's Office manages the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and its Regulations.

Office of Controlled Substances

The Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) works to ensure that drugs and controlled substances are not diverted for illegal use. This involves developing legislation, regulations, policies and operations that support the control of illicit drugs and other substances.

Activities in this area include:

  • licencing manufacturers and distributors of drugs and controlled substances and issuing import/export permits when necessary, to manage and track the movement of drugs and controlled substances across the Canadian border;
  • authorizing the disposal of illegal drugs that have been discovered or seized;
  • licencing individuals and companies to undertake activities under the Industrial Hemp Regulations;
  • managing an exemption process that allows individuals with legitimate scientific or medical reasons to possess a controlled substance; and
  • working with other groups such as the law enforcement community to address compliance issues.

Office of Management Services

The Office of Management Services is responsible for the direction and provision of management services for the Programme, such as:

  • strategic, business and operational planning,
  • resource planning,
  • performance measurement,
  • sustainable development, and
  • information management.

The Office of Management Services also provides general program support and direction, including human resources and financial services.

Office of Research and Surveillance

The Office of Research and Surveillance has implemented a clinical research strategy to generate sound information on the risks and benefits associated with the use of marihuana for medical purposes. Trends and patterns of illicit drug use in Canada are monitored as well as policies, issues and emerging trends regarding drug abuse nationally and internationally.

The Office maintains a network with government and non-government stakeholders regarding data collection and information needs. The data and information gathered provide an evidence-based platform for the decision and policy making processes and also serve to meet the Drug Strategy and Controlled Substances Programme's international reporting obligations.