The Conservative Government announced proposed changes to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
On Thursday, David Wilks, MP Kootenay Columbia joined the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, and Roxanne James, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, to announce the proposed changes to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), with a focus on updating Health Canada’s nearly two-decade-old rules for drug control.
Wilks noted the CDSA has two core objectives — protecting public health and maintaining public safety.
“There are a number of areas where Health Canada inspectors, as well as the police, require updated legal authorities in order to keep up with the evolving drug trade,” Wilks said. “The new legislation introduced today is designed to address those needs, and to address new drug abuse issues.”
Wilks said the proposed changes to the CDSA will equip the Minister of Health and law enforcement officials with better tools to more quickly control dangerous new drugs, combat illegal drug production and distribution. He said it would also enable Health Canada inspectors to more effectively ensure compliance in the legitimate controlled substance industry.
He said the amendments would enhance law enforcement’s ability to dispose of seized goods more efficiently and safely, and strengthen criminal penalties for the illegal possession, production or sale of chemicals or equipment intended for use in the illegal production of a controlled substance.
Wilks said the proposed amendments also respond to the Government’s commitment to address prescription drug abuse by strengthening the ability to inspect, monitor and regulate the movement of controlled substances within the legal supply chain, minimizing the potential for diversion.
It would also make it easier to dispose of seized material where there is a health or safety risk to those involved resulting in safer environments, efficiencies and cost savings for police.
Wilks noted the illicit drug market is innovative, and has created new “designer” drugs that should be subject to the CDSA but are not yet regulated. This new authority will allow the Minister of Health to quickly schedule new substances, allowing for swift action as new drugs appear.
It will also give new authorities to levy fines will provide inspectors with more flexibility when bringing companies into compliance.
This legislation is in keeping with the Government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy which focuses on prevention and access to treatment for those with drug dependencies, while at the same time getting tough on drug dealers and producers who threaten the safety of our youth and communities.
Wilks said the legislation compliments Private Member’s Bill, C-475, introduced by Member of Parliament, John Weston, which brought in stronger powers for precursor chemicals used in manufacturing methamphetamine.
Wilks also had the honour recently of being elected as the Chair of the Conservative Law Enforcement Caucus. He said the important caucus provided input on several criminal justice bills which help police officers across Canada do their jobs to the best of their ability.
“I also have the privilege of being a Member of the Standing Committee on Justice as well as a Member of the Standing Committee on Health.” Wilks said. “My involvement in these committees has given me the opportunity to provide valuable input into legislation which strengthens federal laws but more importantly provides police officers with better tools to do their job.”