Service Standard for Issuance of Controlled Substances and Precursor Chemical Import and Export Permits

Information on this webpage is provided for illustrative purposes only. The Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations, Narcotic Control Regulations, Precursor Control Regulations, and Parts G and J of the Food and Drug Regulations made under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act should be relied upon for specific requirements, including if there are discrepancies between this page and the regulations.

Service Description:

Health Canada posts service standards and performance information in accordance with the applicable Applications Management Policy (AMP) for services with over 100 regulatory authorizations, such as permits or licences, issued each year (high-volume regulatory transactions).

This service is a high-volume regulatory transaction used by applicants seeking the issuance of import/export permits for controlled substances, and precursor chemicals.

The diversion of controlled substances and precursor chemicals frequently used in the production of illegal drugs is a worldwide problem that requires a global solution. Health Canada is an active team player in the fight to control the illegal use of these controlled substances and precursor chemicals.

The Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) works in collaboration with Canadian and international stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure that controlled substances and precursor chemicals are handled effectively and remain in legal distribution channels, and that there is no interference with valid commercial, medical and scientific activities.

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) provides for the control of substances that can alter mental processes and that may produce harm to health and to society when diverted or misused. The CDSA prohibits certain activities with controlled substances and precursor chemicals - including possession, trafficking, importation, exportation and production – except as authorized by regulation. At present, the Narcotic Control Regulations, Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substance Regulations, Precursor Control Regulations, and Parts G and J of the Food and Drug Regulations set out detailed requirements for persons involved in carrying out activities with controlled substances and precursor chemicals, including the requirement for licensed dealers to obtain an import or export permit from Health Canada for each shipment of controlled substances and precursor chemicals being transported into or out of Canada.

Service Standard:

The OCS commits as per the applicable AMP to a service standard of 45 calendar days from the date an application is deemed complete by the OCS to the date a decision is issued to the applicant (permit issued/permit refused).

Performance Target:

The target for achieving this standard is set at 90%.

Performance result in fiscal year 2020 to 2021:

The OCS processed 90% of applications for import and export permits, within its service standard.

Departmental Contact

Please contact the OCS to make any general enquiries or comments, or to receive application forms and additional guidance. Note that at any time, regulations supersede the guidance documents.

Permits Section
Office of Controlled Substances

Controlled Substances Directorate
Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch

Health Canada
Address Locator: 0300B
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9

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