In Canada, drug offences are set out in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”). The CDSA is a federal statute and is therefore applicable throughout Canada. Unlike most criminal code offences, drug offences are prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).
The CDSA has 4 ‘schedules’ that categorize drugs and substances. The categories assist not only in the classification of drugs and substances but also assist in determining sentencing ranges. Schedule I substances are considered to be the most illicit; Schedule II substances less so; and so on. The way to establish/prove that the drug or substance is a Scheduled substance is by a ‘Certificate of Analysis’.
Drug offences are serious offences that have significant repercussions, not only to one’s personal life but to one’s family life as well. Being found guilty of, for example, ‘possession for the purpose of trafficking’, or ‘possession of a controlled substance’, can impact career prospects and infringe upon one’s liberty as CDSA charges carry mandatory minimum imprisonment sentences. Sentences are often determined by the quantity of the substance found in the possession of the accused. Hiring a trafficking/possession lawyer can have a significant impact on the way in which your case proceeds through the courts.