Order Fixing October 17, 2018 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force: SI/2018-52
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 152, Number 14
July 11, 2018
Order Fixing October 17, 2018 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2018-947 June 26, 2018
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, pursuant to subsection 226(1) of the Cannabis Act, chapter 16 of the Statutes of Canada, 2018, fixes October 17, 2018 as the day on which that Act, other than sections 160.1, 161, 188 to 193, 193.1, 194, 199 to 202, 206 and 225, comes into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
Pursuant to subsection 226(1) of the Cannabis Act, Statutes of Canada 2018, Chapter 16, this Order in Council (the Order) fixes October 17, 2018, as the date on which the Cannabis Act comes into force, except for
- Sections 160.1 and 161, which came into force on June 21, 2018, immediately upon royal assent;
- Sections 188 to 193, 194, 199 to 202, 206 and 225, which pertain to amendments to other acts and that either came into force on the date of royal assent or will come into force on the date that the Act being amended comes into force; and
- Section 193.1, which will come into force no later than one year after the Act comes into force.
This Order brings into force the Cannabis Act, which directly addresses the Government’s commitment in the 2015 Speech from the Throne to introduce legislation to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis.
In June 2016, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Minister of Health established the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation (“the Task Force”) to consult broadly with Canadians and to provide advice on the design of a new legislative and regulatory framework. The Task Force engaged in extensive cross-country consultations with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, experts, patients, advocates, Indigenous organizations, youth, employers and industry. The Task Force also heard from many other Canadians, including many young people, who participated in an online public consultation that generated nearly 30 000 responses from individuals and organizations.
The Task Force delivered its final report, A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada, to the Ministers and the public on December 13, 2016. The Task Force made 85 recommendations for the establishment of a comprehensive framework for the legalization and regulation of cannabis across five themes: minimizing harms of use; establishing a safe and responsible supply chain; enforcing public safety and protection; medical access; and implementation.
On April 13, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45, an Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (the Cannabis Act) in the House of Commons. Based in large part on the advice of the Task Force, the Cannabis Act, which received royal assent on June 21, 2018, creates a comprehensive national framework to provide restricted access to regulated cannabis, and to control its production, distribution, sale, import, export and possession. The Cannabis Act also enables provinces and territories to oversee the distribution and retail sale of cannabis, and to tailor certain rules in their respective jurisdictions.
The Cannabis Act seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- Restrict youth access to cannabis;
- Protect young people from promotion or enticements to use cannabis;
- Deter and reduce criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those breaking the law, especially those who import, export, or provide cannabis to youth;
- Protect public health through strict product safety and quality requirements;
- Reduce the burden on the criminal justice system;
- Provide for the legal production of cannabis to reduce illegal activities;
- Allow adults to possess and access regulated, quality-controlled legal cannabis; and
- Enhance public awareness of the health risks associated with cannabis.
This Order fixes October 17, 2018, as the date on which all provisions of the Cannabis Act will come into force, with the exception of
- Section 160.1 of the Cannabis Act, a transitional provision pertaining to the pre-positioning of cannabis products, which came into force on June 21, 2018, immediately upon royal assent and which authorizes
- Holders of a federal licence under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) to sell and provide cannabis products to provincially or territorially authorized distributors or retailers; and
- Provincially or territorially authorized distributors or retailers to take possession of such products, and to sell, provide, send, deliver, or transport this cannabis to other authorized persons, but not to retail customers.
- Section 161 of the Cannabis Act, pertaining to transitional regulations, which came into force immediately upon royal assent.
- Sections 188 to 193, 194, 199 to 202, 206, and 225 of the Cannabis Act, which pertain to amendments to other Acts. These amendments either came into force upon royal assent of the Cannabis Act, or, in the case of coordinating amendments where the other Act has not yet come into force, will come into force on the date that the Act being amended comes into force.
- Section 193.1, pertaining to cannabis edibles and concentrates, which will come into force no later than the first anniversary of the coming into force date of the Cannabis Act.
Until the Cannabis Act is brought into force on October 17, 2018, it remains illegal to possess, sell, produce, import or export cannabis unless it is authorized under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and its regulations, such as the ACMPR.
The development of the Cannabis Act was significantly informed by the advice from the Task Force on Legalization and Regulation. To formulate its advice, the Task Force consulted extensively, including with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous governments and representative organizations, youth and experts in relevant fields from Canada and abroad.
During the legislative process, Bill C-45 was considered by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health. The Committee held eight days of meetings, heard from 120 witnesses and received 115 written submissions from individuals and organizations across Canada. The Committee amended the Act to
- Eliminate the 100 cm cannabis plant height restriction for personal cultivation;
- Require that the sale of edible products and concentrates become legal no later than 12 months after the coming into force of the Cannabis Act; and
- Require that the Minister cause a statutory review of the Cannabis Act three years after its coming into force, and report to Parliament on the findings of this review.
In the Senate, Bill C-45 was studied by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. Four other Senate Committees conducted subject matter studies on the Act: the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples in relation to Indigenous persons; the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in relation to criminal law; the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in relation to international obligations; and the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence in relation to Canada’s borders. From February until May 2018, the five Senate committees conducted 48 meetings, heard from 240 witnesses and received over 90 written submissions. The Senate made a number of amendments to the Act, including to
- Allow for distributors and retailers authorized by provincial and territorial governments to lawfully receive cannabis from federally licensed producers in advance of the Cannabis Act coming into force (beginning on June 21, 2018, the date on which royal assent was received);
- Make important changes to the ticketing regime; and
- Require that the report on the review of the Act to be caused by the Minister three years after its coming into force be tabled in Parliament within 18 months after the review has begun.
The Cannabis Act was approved by both the House of Commons and the Senate on June 19, 2018, and received royal assent on June 21, 2018.
To provide for the orderly implementation of the new legal framework, the Government of Canada is providing for an appropriate transition period by setting a coming-into-force date of October 17, 2018.
This will provide a period of time for
- Regulated parties to transition to the new framework;
- Public education outreach to Canadians;
- Provinces and territories to establish the necessary distribution and retail infrastructure; and
- Training for law enforcement to detect and deter drug-impaired driving.
During the transition period until the coming-into-force of the Cannabis Act, the Government of Canada will continue to work with the provinces and territories, Indigenous communities, the regulated cannabis industry and law enforcement to prepare for implementation of the new legal framework for cannabis.
Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch
Address locator: 0602E