Service Standard for Issuance of Cannabis Import and Export Permits under the Cannabis Act and its Regulations

Disclaimer: Information on this webpage is provided for illustrative purposes only. The Cannabis Act and its Regulations should be relied upon for specific requirements, including if there are discrepancies between this page and the Cannabis Act and its Regulations.

Service Description:

Health Canada posts service standards and performance information for services with over 100 regulatory authorizations, such as permits or licences, issued each year (high-volume regulatory transactions).

The Cannabis Act and its Regulations govern the applications for licences and permits. Only licensed parties under the Cannabis Regulations may import or export cannabis, and only for medical or scientific purposes. A permit is required for each individual shipment of cannabis and each permit application is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The necessary information to be submitted by a licence holder to apply for an import or export permit is detailed under sections 205 and 214 of the Cannabis Regulations respectively.

The import and export provisions for cannabis operate in the context of Canada's international drug treaty obligations. Health Canada has an obligation to maintain control over the movement of cannabis in a manner consistent with these international drug control conventions which strictly limit trade in cannabis to medical and scientific purposes between countries within the International Narcotics Control Board's confirmed estimates.

Before the issuance of an export permit, Health Canada verifies that the licence holder has provided an import permit issued by the competent authority in the final destination and that the shipment will not contravene the laws of the destination country or any other countries if there are any transitory countries. Finally, Health Canada also verifies that the destination country has not reached its import limit for cannabis for the current year.

The Cannabis Licence Management Guide outlines the permit application process under Part 10 of the Cannabis Regulations. The import and export application forms are found in the Guide. Complete applications must be submitted to:

Service Standard:

Health Canada commits to a non-binding administrative service standard of 30 business days from the date that payment is received by the department to the date a decision is issued to the applicant (permit sent/application refused).

The time the application is with the applicant for additional required information does not count towards the service standard.

Performance Target:

The target for achieving this standard is set at 85%.

Performance result for fiscal year 2020 to 2021:

In 2020-2021, 52% of standard cannabis import and export permits were processed within the 30 business day service standard.

Departmental Contact:

Import-Export Unit
Specialized Authorizations Division
Cannabis Licensing and Medical Access Directorate
Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch
Health Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K9

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