Service Standards for Issuance, Renewal and Amendments to Industrial Hemp Licences

Disclaimer: Information on this webpage is provided for illustrative purposes only. The Industrial Hemp Regulations and the Cannabis Act 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 provide a legal framework for the possession, production, distribution and sale of cannabis in Canada.

Under the Cannabis Act, the Industrial Hemp Regulations set out the regulatory framework for controlling and authorizing certain activities with industrial hemp, which is defined under these Regulations as a cannabis plant – or any part of the plant – in which the concentration of THC is 0.3% (weight by weight) or less in the flowering heads and leaves.

Under this framework, a person is required to obtain a licence issued by Health Canada in order to conduct various activities with industrial hemp. In addition, licence holders are responsible for compliance with the Cannabis Act and its Regulations, and with other applicable federal, provincial and territorial legislation and municipal by-laws.

Refer to the following legislation and guidance to support the application process:

Applications are submitted through the electronic Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS).

After the application is submitted in the CTLS, it is processed through the following steps:

  1. Screening: every section of the application and all attached documents are assessed for completeness, legibility and suitability.
  2. Review: once the application has passed screening, a detailed review is undertaken to verify that the information is accurate and satisfies all of the regulatory requirements. During the review, Health Canada may contact the applicant to request clarification and/or additional information.
  3. Issuance or refusal of licence: once all information in the application has been reviewed, a regulatory decision is made to either issue or refuse to issue a licence. If the decision is to issue a licence, a hard copy of the licence is mailed to the applicant at the mailing address in the application.

Health Canada also reviews requests by licence holders to amend their industrial hemp licence.

The grounds for refusal to issue, renew, or amend a licence are found under subsection 62(7) of the Cannabis Act.

Service Standards:

Health Canada commits to a non-binding administrative service standard of 60 business days for the issuance of a regulatory decision on an application for a new industrial hemp licence or a renewal.

Health Canada also commits to a non-binding administrative service standard of 30 business days for the issuance of a regulatory decision on a request to amend an industrial hemp licence.

Service standards start from the date that the application is deemed complete by the department to the date a decision is issued to the applicant or licence holder (application, renewal or amendment approved or refused).  

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

Performance Target:

The target for achieving these standards is set at 85%.

Performance results in fiscal year 2020 to 2021:

In 2020-2021 :

  • 93% of applications for new industrial hemp licences were processed within the 60 business day service standard.
  • 78% of industrial hemp licence renewal applications were processed within the 60 business day service standard.
  • 75% of industrial hemp licence amendment applications were processed within the 30 business day service standard.

Departmental Contact:

Please contact the Industrial Hemp Unit to make any general inquiries or comments:

Industrial Hemp Section
Specialized Authorizations Division
Cannabis Licensing and Medical Access Directorate
Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch
Health Canada
Address Locator: 0300A
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9

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