Health Canada Launches Public Consultation on Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis

News Release

Online consultations open for 60 days 

November 21, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Government of Canada

The current approach to cannabis does not work. Earlier this year, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45, the proposed Cannabis Act, to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. Bill C-45 aims to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth and the profits away from criminals and organized crime. 

Today, Health Canada launched a public consultation on the proposed regulatory approach for the proposed Cannabis Act. This approach builds on the extensive consultations already conducted by the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation and on Canada's existing system of regulated production of cannabis for medical purposes and industrial hemp. The proposed regulatory approach prioritizes protecting the health and safety of Canadians while enabling a competitive legal industry made up of large and small enterprises in all regions of the country to produce quality-controlled cannabis.

All Canadians and interested stakeholders are invited to share their views on the proposed regulatory approach online until January 20, 2018. Health Canada welcomes written submissions or input provided online.

The public consultation seeks input on the proposed regulatory approach, including licensing, security requirements for producers and their facilities, product standards and labelling and packaging, access to cannabis for medical purposes, and health products containing cannabis. The proposal is outlined in detail in the consultation paper: Proposed Approach to the Regulation of Cannabis.

The Government of Canada has been working closely with the provinces and territories and has engaged Indigenous partners and stakeholders. In addition to the online consultation, Health Canada welcomes feedback from the provinces and territories and will continue to meet with provincial and territorial governments, work with Indigenous partners, and hold dedicated discussions with stakeholders. 

Furthermore, the Canadian Society of Forensic Science Drugs and Driving Committee (DDC) has released its evaluation standards for oral fluid drug screening devices in Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency launched its own consultation to align relevant immigration regulations with the coming into force of the Cannabis Act. 


“Our Government is taking a public health approach to legalizing, strictly regulating and restricting access to cannabis. This proposed regulatory approach is informed by the extensive consultations to date, and it supports our overarching goal of protecting public health and safety. We look forward to hearing the views of Canadians from across the country.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“The current approach to cannabis is not working. We believe that our proposed regulatory approach will help us keep cannabis away from kids and keep profits from criminals and organized crime. I encourage all interested Canadians to share their views with us.”

Bill Blair
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Quick Facts

  • At the end of this 60-day consultation period, Health Canada intends to publish a summary of the comments received as well as a detailed outline of any changes to the regulatory proposal, which will continue to provide industry and stakeholders with as much information as possible on the proposed regulatory requirements.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous communities. It has begun discussions and will continue to exchange information on the proposed legislation and associated regulatory approach. Working with Indigenous peoples will help Health Canada and the Government gain an understanding of Indigenous perspectives, address key areas of interest, and collaborate on effective public education and communications.
  • The Government of Canada has announced an investment of $46M over the next 5 years to ensure that a robust public education, awareness and surveillance program is in place to inform Canadians of the health and safety risks of cannabis use.

  • In addition to legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis, the Government is toughening laws around alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. Under the Government’s proposed legislation, Bill C-46, new offences would be added to the Criminal Code to enforce a zero tolerance approach for those driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Additionally, the proposed legislation would authorize new tools for police to better detect drivers who have drugs in their body. On September 8, 2017, the Government announced that it had committed up to $161 million for training frontline officers in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired driving, building law enforcement capacity across the country and providing access to drug screening devices. As part of this funding, provinces and territories will be able to access up to $81 million over five years for new law enforcement training, and building capacity to enforce new and stronger laws related to drug-impaired driving.

  • Once oral fluid drug screening devices have been assessed against the standards, the Canadian Society of Forensic Science Drugs and Driving Committee will make a recommendation to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada who will consider the advice and decide whether to make a Ministerial Order listing the drug screening equipment for use by law enforcement. 

  • The Government of Canada announced up to $274 million to support law enforcement and border efforts to detect and deter drug-impaired driving and enforce the proposed cannabis legalization and regulation. This includes funding to acquire drug screening devices.

Related Products

Associated Links


Thierry Bélair
Office of the Minister of Health

Scott Bardsley
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Health Canada

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Media Line
Canada Border Services Agency

Public Inquiries:
1-866 225-0709

Page details

Date modified: