Frequently Asked Questions - Narcotic Control Regulations

This document is an unofficial summary of the Regulations. It is not intended to substitute for, supersede or limit the requirements under the applicable legislation. In case of any discrepancy between this summary and the legislation, the legislation will prevail.

What is the purpose of this regulation?

The Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR) fall under the authority of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). The CDSA and its regulations provide a framework for the control of substances that can alter mental processes and that may produce harm to an individual or to society when diverted to an illicit market. Scheduling substances under the CDSA provides law enforcement agencies with the authority to take action against illicit activities with those substances.

The NCR outline the circumstances under which activities with narcotics listed in the Regulations are permitted. Examples of narcotics regulated under the NCR include oxycodone, cocaine, opium, codeine, morphine and cannabisFootnote 1.

What are the key elements of this regulation?

The NCR describe the circumstances and requirements in which persons (including businesses), pharmacists, practitioners and hospitals may conduct regulated activities including possession, sale, distribution, importation and exportation, and production of narcotics.

How does this regulation affect Canadian businesses?

Prior to engaging in an activity with narcotics controlled under the CDSA, persons, including businesses, may be required to submit an application to Health Canada. Authorizations may be provided in the form of a dealer's licence and, for importation and exportation activities, a permit. There are also requirements related to storage, security, and record-keeping.

Compliance with the Regulations is monitored by Health Canada and authorized places such as licensed businesses and pharmacies may be subject to on-site inspections.

What is the timeline for implementation?

The NCR were made under the Narcotic Control Act, which preceded the CDSA, and are now under the CDSA. The NCR came into force on September 15, 1961.

Where can I get more information on the Narcotic Control Regulations?

Please visit the Health Canada website for additional information or contact the Office of Controlled Substances to request a licence or permit application form or to make an enquiry.

For More Information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.


Footnote 1

Certain activities with cannabis may also be subject to the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations or the Industrial Hemp Regulations.

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