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Bill S-229

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Second Session, Forty-third Parliament,
69-70 Elizabeth II, 2020-2021
SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-229
An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the decriminalization of illegal substances, to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
FIRST READING, March 16, 2021
THE HONOURABLE SENATOR Boniface
4322017


SUMMARY

This enactment provides for a national strategy to decriminalize simple possession of illegal substances, amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to repeal provisions that make it an offence to possess certain substances and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.
Available on the Senate of Canada website at the following address:
www.sencanada.ca/en


2nd Session, 43rd Parliament,
69-70 Elizabeth II, 2020-2021
SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-229
An Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the decriminalization of illegal substances, to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Preamble

Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that substance use disorder is a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue;
Whereas evidence endorsed by numerous Canadian health leaders suggests that decriminalization for simple possession is an effective way to reduce the public health and public safety harms associated with substance use;
Whereas alternatives to criminal sanctions for simple possession of illegal substances require integrated partnerships and access to diversion measures;
Whereas evidence from around the world suggests that the current criminal justice system approach to substance use could be enhanced by using health-care diversion approaches that have proven to be effective;
And whereas diversion approaches provide opportunities to make positive community impacts, including reducing recidivism, reducing ancillary crimes and improving health and safety outcomes for individuals who use illegal substances;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Short title
1This Act may be cited as the Health-Centred Approach to Substance Use Act .

National Strategy for the Decriminalization of Illegal Substances

National strategy
2(1)The Minister of Health must develop a national strategy for decriminalizing illegal substances.
Consultations
(2)In developing the strategy, the Minister of Health must consider, in consultation with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Safety and representatives of the provincial and territorial governments responsible for public health, the administration of justice and public safety, among other things,
(a)setting specific national objectives in order to improve the health and situation of persons living with a substance use disorder;
(b)encouraging greater investment in all areas related to addressing substance use disorder, particularly in the areas of treatment, harm reduction and other diversionary approaches;
(c)modifying health and social services in order to increase their availability and address access and capacity limitations related to substance use disorder;
(d)determining both the threshold of a minimum quantity of a controlled substance that a person must possess in order for this possession to be criminalized and the corresponding decision maker tasked with making this determination;
(e)establishing an administrative sanctions regime, which could include such things as a warning, a fine, a mandatory treatment referral or other measures; and
(f)defining the roles of actors in the health system, social services, police services, the judiciary and other relevant actors.
Consultations — First Nations, Inuit and Métis persons and organizations and others
(3)For the purpose of developing the strategy, the Minister of Health must consult with First Nations, Inuit and Métis persons — or organizations representing them — and with all other interested persons or organizations that the Minister considers appropriate.
Conference
(4)For the purpose of developing the strategy, the Minister of Health must, within 180 days after the day on which this Act comes into force, convene a conference with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Public Safety and representatives of the provincial and territorial governments responsible for public health, the administration of justice and public safety.
Report to Parliament
3(1)The Minister of Health must prepare a report setting out the national strategy and cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the day that is two years after the day on which this Act receives royal assent.
Publication of Report
(2)The Minister of Health must post the report on the departmental website within 10 days after the day on which it is tabled in Parliament.
1996, c. 19

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

4Paragraph (a) of the definition designated substance offence in subsection 2(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is replaced by the following:
(a)an offence under Part I, or
5Sections 4 and 4.‍1 of the Act are repealed.
6Subsection 47(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:
Time limit
47(1)No summary conviction proceedings in respect of an offence under subsection 32(2) or the regulations or in respect of a contravention of an order made under section 45.‍1 or 45.‍2 shall be commenced after the expiry of one year after the day when the subject matter of the proceedings arose.
7Schedule I to the Act is amended by replacing the references after the heading “SCHEDULE I” with the following:
(Sections 2, 5 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
8Schedule II to the Act is amended by replacing the references after the heading “SCHEDULE II” with the following:
(Sections 2, 5 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
9Schedule III to the Act is amended by replacing the references after the heading “SCHEDULE III” with the following:
(Sections 2, 5 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
10Schedule IV to the Act is amended by replacing the references after the heading “SCHEDULE IV” with the following:
(Sections 2, 5 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)

Consequential Amendments

R.‍‍S.‍‍, c. C-46

Criminal Code

11Paragraph 462.‍48(1)‍(a) of the Criminal Code is replaced by the following:
(a)an offence under Part I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act;
12Paragraph 553(c) of the Act is amended by adding “or” at the end of subparagraph (viii.‍1), by striking out “or” at the end of subparagraph (ix) and by repealing subparagraph (x).
2000, c. 17

Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act

13Subparagraph 11.‍11(1)‍(d)‍(ii) of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act is replaced by the following:
(ii)the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act,

Coming into Force

Order in council
14Sections 4 to 13 of this Act come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
Published under authority of the Senate of Canada



explanatory notes

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Clause 4:Text of relevant portions of the definition:
designated substance offence means
(a)an offence under Part I, except subsection 4(1), or
Clause 5:Text of sections 4 and 4.‍1:
4(1)Except as authorized under the regulations, no person shall possess a substance included in Schedule I, II or III.
(2)No person shall seek or obtain
(a)a substance included in Schedule I, II, III or IV, or
(b)an authorization to obtain a substance included in Schedule I, II, III or IV
from a practitioner, unless the person discloses to the practitioner particulars relating to the acquisition by the person of every substance in those Schedules, and of every authorization to obtain such substances, from any other practitioner within the preceding thirty days.
(3)Every person who contravenes subsection (1) where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule I
(a)is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years; or
(b)is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable
(i)for a first offence, to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both, and
(ii)for a subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
(4)Subject to subsection (5), every person who contravenes subsection (1) where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule II
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years less a day; or
(b)is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable
(i)for a first offence, to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both, and
(ii)for a subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
(5) [Repealed, 2018, c. 16, s. 195]
(6)Every person who contravenes subsection (1) where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule III
(a)is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years; or
(b)is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable
(i)for a first offence, to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both, and
(ii)for a subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
(7)Every person who contravenes subsection (2)
(a)is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(i)to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule I,
(ii)to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years less a day, where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule II,
(iii)to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule III, or
(iv)to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months, where the subject-matter of the offence is a substance included in Schedule IV; or
(b)is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable
(i)for a first offence, to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both, and
(ii)for a subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
(8) [Repealed, 2018, c. 16, s. 195]
4.‍1(1)For the purposes of this section, medical emergency means a physiological event induced by the introduction of a psychoactive substance into the body of a person that results in a life-threatening situation and in respect of which there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person requires emergency medical or law enforcement assistance.
(2)No person who seeks emergency medical or law enforcement assistance because that person, or another person, is suffering from a medical emergency is to be charged or convicted of an offence under subsection 4(1) if the evidence in support of that offence was obtained or discovered as a result of that person having sought assist­ance or having remained at the scene.
(3)The exemption under subsection (2) also applies to any person, including the person suffering from the medical emergency, who is at the scene on the arrival of the emergency medical or law enforcement assistance.
(4)No person who seeks emergency medical or law enforcement assistance because that person, or another person, is suffering from a medical emergency, or who is at the scene on the arrival of the assistance, is to be charged with an offence concerning a violation of any condition of a pre-trial release or probation order relating to an offence under subsection 4(1) if the evidence in support of that offence was obtained or discovered as a result of that person having sought assistance or having remained at the scene.
(5)Any condition of a person’s pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole relating to an offence under subsection 4(1) that may be violated as a result of the person seeking emergency medical or law enforcement assistance for their, or another person’s, medical emergency, or as a result of having been at the scene on the arrival of the assistance, is deemed not to be violated.
Clause 6:Existing text of subsection 47(1):
47(1)No summary conviction proceedings in respect of an offence under subsection 4(2) or 32(2) or the regulations or in respect of a contravention of an order made under section 45.‍1 or 45.‍2 shall be commenced after the expiry of one year after the time when the subject matter of the proceedings arose.
Clause 7:Existing text of the references in Schedule I:
(Sections 2, 4 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
Clause 8:Existing text of the references in Schedule II:
(Sections 2, 4 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
Clause 9:Existing text of the references in Schedule III:
(Sections 2, 4 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
Clause 10:Existing text of the references in Schedule IV:
(Sections 2, 4 to 7.‍1, 10, 29, 55 and 60)
Criminal Code
Clause 11:Existing text of relevant portions of subsection 462.‍48(1):
462.‍48(1)In this section, designated substance offence means
(a)an offence under Part I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, except subsection 4(1) of that Act;
Clause 12:Existing text of relevant portions of section 553‍:
553The jurisdiction of a provincial court judge, or in Nunavut, of a judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice, to try an accused is absolute and does not depend on the consent of the accused where the accused is charged in an information
. . .
(c) with an offence under
. . .
(viii.‍1)section 811 (breach of recognizance),
(ix)subsection 733.‍1(1) (failure to comply with probation order), or
(x)paragraph 4(4)‍(a) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act
Clause 13:Existing text of relevant portions of subsection 11.‍11(1):
11.‍11(1)The following persons or entities are not eligible for registration with the Centre:
. . .
(d)a person or entity that has been convicted on indictment or convicted more than once of an offence under any of the following, or that has been convicted of an offence under the laws of a foreign state that is substantially similar to an offence under any of the following:
. . .
(ii)the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, except for the offence under subsection 4(1) of that Act,

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