Government of Canada announces tracking system to monitor closely the movement of legal cannabis and prevent it from being diverted to the illegal market

News release

August 29, 2018    Ottawa, ON    Health Canada

A primary goal of the Cannabis Act is to displace the illegal cannabis market and keep profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. One means of achieving this goal is to track closely the movement of cannabis from where it is grown, to where it is processed, to where it is sold.

Today, Health Canada announced the new Cannabis Tracking System, an important milestone in preparation for the coming into force of the Cannabis Act. The system will enable the tracking of cannabis to prevent legal cannabis from being diverted to the illegal market and illegal cannabis from being introduced into the legal market.

The Cannabis Tracking System builds on a system that has been in place for nearly five years to track cannabis for medical purposes and that has proven to work. It will be used by provinces and territories, as well as those that hold a federal licence to cultivate and process cannabis, to track the movement of cannabis from cultivation to processing to sale.

Personal information on individual consumers will not be collected. The Cannabis Tracking System will only collect data that is necessary for Health Canada to track cannabis at a national level.


“The launch of the Cannabis Tracking System represents another important step in our public health approach to legalizing and regulating cannabis. Building on a system that has proven to work for cannabis for medical purposes, the Cannabis Tracking System will be instrumental in helping to prevent legal cannabis from being diverted to the illegal market.” 
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“We have been clear about our objective of keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime. The Cannabis Tracking System is one of several legislative and regulatory measures designed to help prevent the movement of cannabis from the legal market to the illegal market, and vice versa. Other measures include routine and unannounced inspections and rigorous personnel and physical security requirements.”
The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Quick facts

  • The Cannabis Act provides the Minister of Health with the authority to track the high-level movement of cannabis across Canada, preventing diversion of legal product to illegal markets.

  • The Ministerial Order establishing the Cannabis Tracking System will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II and will be available on Health Canada’s website on September 5, 2018. It will come into effect on October 17, 2018, at the same time as the Cannabis Act.

  • Federal licence holders will be required to submit data on a monthly basis via an online portal managed by Health Canada. Provincial and territorial bodies will report distribution and retail data via the same portal.

  • Health Canada will publish market data collected through the Cannabis Tracking System on its website as it does today for market data related to cannabis for medical purposes.

  • Non-compliance will be enforced with sanctions ranging from warning letters, to monetary penalties, to suspension or revocation of licences.

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Thierry Bélair
Cabinet de Ginette Petitpas Taylor

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