Conservative government proposing changes to how drugs managed in Canada

OTTAWA — The Conservative government wants to update the Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for the first time in nearly twenty years.

Health Minister Rona Ambrose made the announcement Thursday at Ottawa police headquarters alongside Roxanne James, the junior minister for public safety.

Ambrose said the act, which carves out rules for the way drugs are managed in Canada, needs to be updated to address “significant changes” in both the illicit and legitimate drug market.

Designer drugs on the black market should be subject to the rules, but are not regulated yet, she added.

“Dangerous designer drugs often targeted at youth are appearing on our streets more frequently,” Ambrose said. “Anyone who has watched the show ‘Breaking Bad’ knows exactly what I am talking about.”

There’s not enough time left in the current session of Parliament for the legislation to pass before this fall’s federal election, so the bill will be reintroduced in the next Parliament if the Conservatives are re-elected, she added.

“We did a lot of work with stakeholders to get this bill ready to go,” Ambrose said. “This is the first time the CDSA has been updated in 20 years and this is a bill that has to be passed.”

The proposed amendments include stronger tools to target illegal drug production and distribution.

Ambrose also said increased powers are needed so the minister can quickly review new substances and target emerging issues around drug abuse.

The Canadian Press