Guidance Document - Reporting Seizure and Disposition of Controlled Substances, Precursors, Chemical Offence-Related Property, Cannabis and Chemical Property

Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch
Version 2019-10-17
Published by authority of the Minister of Health

Table of Contents

Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health. Health Canada is committed to improving the lives of all of Canada's people and to making this country's population among the healthiest in the world as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.

Health Canada

The Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) within the Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch (CSCB) administers legislation and activities controlling the possession, import, export, production, distribution and sale of substances listed in the schedules to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). These include narcotics, controlled drugs, restricted drugs, targeted substances and precursors.

The CSCB also administers the Cannabis Act (CA) and its regulations to provide legal access to cannabis and to control and regulate its production, distribution and sale. The objectives of the CA are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework.

In addition, the CSCB also establish open communication with regulated parties and foster collaboration amongst other federal departments, provincial and territorial agencies, and law enforcement, for the purpose of protecting public health and safety by minimizing the diversion of controlled substances, cannabis and precursor chemicals to the illegal market.

Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch
Foreword

Guidance documents are meant to provide assistance to stakeholders on how to comply with governing statutes and regulations. Guidance documents also provide assistance to staff on how Health Canada mandates and objectives should be implemented in a manner that is fair, consistent and effective.

Guidance documents are administrative instruments not having force of law and, as such, allow for flexibility in approach. Alternate approaches to the principles and practices described in this document may be acceptable provided they are consistent with applicable legislation. Alternate approaches should be discussed in advance with the relevant program area to avoid the possible finding that applicable statutory or regulatory requirements have not been met.

As a corollary to the above, it is equally important to note that Health Canada reserves the right to request information or material, or define conditions not specifically described in the document, in order to allow the Department to adequately assess safety, efficacy or quality. Health Canada is committed to ensuring that such requests are justifiable and that decisions are clearly documented.

This document should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notice and the relevant sections of other applicable guidance documents.

1. Purpose

This document provides guidance to law enforcement agencies and other parties in Canada on how to complete a Seizure and Disposition Report form for controlled substances, precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property in order to meet the obligations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Cannabis Act (CA).

2. Scope

A peace officer, inspector, or prescribed person must notify the Minister of the seizure, finding or otherwise acquiring of a controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property as well as their disposition in accordance with sections 12.1 and 29 of the CDSA, and sections 89(1) and 109 of the CA. Such notification can be submitted to Health Canada (HC), using the Seizure and Disposition Report form. This document provides guidance to parties in order to meet these obligations.

If the quantities being reported cannot be listed in one form, please attach a full list including all required information in a separate document.

2.1 Regulations governing the seizure and disposition of controlled substances, precursors, chemical-offence related property, cannabis and chemical property

ss 12.1, 23 to 29 - Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
ss 89 (1), 102 to 109 - Cannabis Act
ss 21 to 23 - Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Police Enforcement) Regulations
ss 23 to 26 - Cannabis Act (Police Enforcement) Regulations

3. Background

Health Canada plays an important role in helping to ensure that controlled substances are used for legal purposes through the administration of legislation governing the possession, import, export, production, and sale or provision of substances listed in the schedules to the CDSA.

Health Canada also has an oversight role with respect to the disposition of controlled substances and cannabis, as well as with respect to chemical offence-related property (as defined in the CDSA) and chemical property (as defined in the CA). This role is expressly provided for in the CDSA and the CA.

Furthermore, as per the guidelines and reporting requirements of the International Narcotics Control Board, Canada is required to submit information regarding yearly seizures and dispositions that have occurred so as to create a more concrete picture regarding the diversion of controlled substances and cannabis across the country.

4. Disposition of Controlled Substances, Precursors, Chemical Offence-related Property, Cannabis and Chemical Property

Under the authorities described in the CDSA and the CA, the Minister of Health has the power to direct the manner in which controlled substances, precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property may be disposed.

The Minister of Health has directed that peace officers, inspectors and prescribed persons are authorized to dispose of controlled substances, precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property in a manner that is consistent with any applicable laws (including environmental law) in their jurisdiction and is no longer subject to authorization provided the process is consistent with the CDSA, the CA and this document.

5. Seizure and Disposition Report Form

The preferred method of submission is to complete the online form and e-mail it to hc.drugs.disposition-drogues.sc@canada.ca. Stakeholders may also fax the document to 613-941-4760.

Seizure and Disposition Report Form

You can also request it in writing to hc.drugs.disposition-drogues.sc@canada.ca.

5.1 Types of reports

Under the CDSA, officers must first complete a seizure and disposition report according to s. 12.1 of the CDSA upon seizure of a controlled substance, precursor, or chemical-offence related property, and later a disposition report according to s. 29 of the CDSA when the substance or item is destroyed.

Under the CA, officers must first complete a seizure and disposition report according to s. 89(1) of the CA upon seizure of cannabis. Please note that the seizure of chemical property does not need to be reported.

For subsequent disposition, officers must complete a disposition report according to s. 109(1) of the CA for cannabis and chemical property when the substance or item is destroyed.

5.1.1 CDSA Section 12.1, CA Section 89(1) - Report of seizure, finding or acquisition

According to s. 12.1 of the CDSA and s. 89(1) of the CA, once an officer has seized, found or otherwise acquired a controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property or cannabis, they must report it within thirty (30) days to HC. The report must include:

  • a list of the substance(s), precursor(s), property or cannabis (note for cannabis, a description must be provided);
  • the amount seized, found or acquired;
  • the place where it was seized, found or acquired (Note: For on-street or roadside seizures, approximate addresses (e.g. "corner of..") may be provided);
  • the date (YYYY/MM/DD) of the seizure, finding or acquisition;
  • the name of the police force, agency or entity to which the peace officer, inspector or prescribed person belongs; and
  • the number of the file or police report related to the seizure, finding or acquisition.

In the case of seizures made under s. 11 of the CDSA or s. 87 of the CA, the Criminal Code, or common law seizure powers, the report must also be filed with the relevant justice.

5.1.2 Section 29 (CDSA) and Section 109(1) (CA) - Report of disposition or other dealing with

According to s. 29 of the CDSA and s. 109(1) of the CA, once an officer has disposed of a controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property, cannabis or chemical property or has any other dealing with it they must report to HC within thirty (30) days. The report must include:

  • a list of the substance(s), precursor(s), cannabis or property (note for cannabis and chemical property, a description must be provided);
  • the amount disposed of or otherwise dealt with;
  • the manner in which it was disposed of or otherwise dealt with;
  • the date (YYYY/MM/DD) on which it was disposed of or otherwise dealt with;
  • the name of the police force, agency or entity to which the peace officer, inspector or prescribed person belongs; and
  • the number of the file or police report related to the disposition of it or other dealing with it.

5.2 Instructions for completing the Seizure and Disposition Report form

The following section explains in detail how to complete the form for seizure and disposition of controlled substances, precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property.

Check the appropriate box at the top of the form depending on the type of report. Check both boxes in the case where seizure and disposition have been completed within a period of 30 days to satisfy both reporting obligations.

5.2.1 Organization responsible for seizure

Provide the coordinates of the responsible organization for the seizure:

  • Name of the police force, agency or entity of the officer who seized, found, or otherwise acquired the substance; and
  • Complete street address including postal code.

Identify the organization's level of government and provide the telephone and fax numbers of the contact person in the detachment, in case HC needs to contact the relevant organization to verify any submitted information.

5.2.2 Police File No.

Provide the police occurrence file number for the incident.

5.2.3 Police Exhibit Report No.

Provide the police exhibit number(s) pertaining to the above file occurrence number.

5.2.4 CBSA or HC File No.

Provide the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or the HC file occurrence number of the incident if performed by a CBSA or HC inspector, respectively.

5.2.5 Organization responsible for the disposition

For disposition, if the organization is different from the organization that made the seizure, the address and contact information for the organization responsible for the disposition are required:

  • Name of the police force, agency or entity of the officer who disposed of the substance; and
  • Complete street address including postal code.

5.2.6 Place of seizure, finding or acquisition

Provide the complete address of the place of offence which includes the civic number, apartment if applicable, street, city, province, postal code or the location.

The location could be any place that is not linked to an address such as a field, wooded area, side road, etc. If there is no civic address, please provide details about the location or GPS coordinates.

Seizure

Complete parts 7 to 11 of the form and submit to HC within thirty (30) days of the date of seizure, finding or acquisition.

5.2.7 Date of seizure, finding or acquisition

Provide the date of the seizure in the format YYYY/MM/DD.

5.2.8 Name of the substances

There are five broad classes of substances or items that should be entered in this section: controlled substances, precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property. Please see Appendix B for an expanded definition list.

Where possible, cannabis, other than a cannabis plant, should be reported based on its classification under the various classes of cannabis listed in Schedule 4 of the CA (i.e. dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, edible cannabis, cannabis extracts and/or cannabis topicals). If cannabis plants were seized, the name of substance seized should be reported as "cannabis plant" in accordance to the CA definition of plant as a plant that belongs to the genus Cannabis. Refer to Appendix C: Cannabis Classification for the list of common cannabis preparations to help guide the reporting of cannabis under the different class names.

Health Canada acknowledges that identification of seized substances may not be completed within 30 days of the event. In these cases substances should be listed as "suspected" when the report is submitted (e.g. "suspected methamphetamine"). If a sample has been sent to Health Canada's Drug Analysis Services for identification or confirmation, the original report must be updated with the name of the substance at the time disposition is reported.

5.2.9 Total quantity seized

Provide the total quantity seized for each type of substance or item.

5.2.10 Unit of measure

Provide the unit of measure such as gram (g), kilogram (kg), milliliter (ml), plant, tablet (Tab), etc. For edible cannabis products and/or topical cannabis products, it is preferable to have products reported in the number of units.

5.2.11 Name of the officer reporting the seized, found or acquired substance

The officer reporting the seizure or disposition of a controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property, cannabis or chemical property shall write their name including their regiment number (badge number) or other identifying number and the date the report is being submitted to HC. You may include one or two names.

Disposition

Once an officer has disposed of the controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property, cannabis or chemical property, the officer must confirm that the disposition was made in accordance with the appropriate sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and/or the Cannabis Act (CA) and complete parts 12-18 of the form. Parts 12 and 13 of the disposition section should be identical to Parts 7 and 8 of the seizure section, unless the confirmation of laboratory analysis changes the identity of the substance.

5.2.12 Quantity of seized substances disposed or otherwise dealt with

Provide the quantity disposed for each type of substance or items.

5.2.13 Unit of measure

Provide the unit of measure such as gram (g), kilogram (kg), milliliter (ml), plant, tablet (Tab), etc. For edible cannabis or topical cannabis products, it is preferable to have products reported in the number of units.

5.2.14 Date of disposition or other dealing with

Provide the date in the format YYYY/MM/DD.

5.2.15 Method of disposition or other dealing with

It is the detachment's responsibility to ensure that disposition is carried out in an appropriate manner that is in compliance with all municipal, provincial and federal regulations (e.g. environmental). The chosen disposition method must alter or denature the controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property, cannabis or chemical property to such an extent that its consumption and/or its use has been rendered impossible or improbable. The method of disposition could be (but not limited to) incineration, landfill, or chemical alteration.

Anyone disposing of goods must ensure that disposition is carried out in accordance with relevant sections of the CDSA and/or the CA. These sections are referenced below.

5.2.15.1 CDSA s. 24 (4), CA s. 103(4) - Application for return - Denied

Under s.24 of the CDSA and s.103 of the CA, a person from whom a substance was seized has 60 days to make an application to a Justice to have the substance returned to them. If such an application is denied in court, the substance is forfeited and it can be destroyed if it is not required for the purposes of a preliminary inquiry, trial or other proceedings under this Act or any other Act of Parliament.

5.2.15.2 CDSA s. 25, CA s. 104 - No application for return within 60 days

If no application for return is made within 60 days of the date of seizure, finding, or acquisition and no quantity is required for the purposes of a preliminary inquiry, trial or other proceedings under the CDSA, the CA or any other Act of Parliament, disposition may occur.

5.2.15.3 CDSA s. 26, CA s. 105 - Expedited disposition

If the storage and handling of precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis and chemical property poses a risk to health or safety and they are not required for the purposes of a preliminary inquiry, trial or other proceedings under these Acts or any other Act of Parliament, expedited disposition may occur. Expedited disposition of controlled substances that are not required for the purposes of a preliminary inquiry, trial or other proceedings under these Acts or any other Act of Parliament may also take place. Required samples must be taken and kept for court proceedings.

The following are examples of potential health and safety risks associated with the storage of precursors, chemical offence-related property, cannabis or chemical property.

  • The substance is in a form that is volatile, reactive, unstable, corrosive, explosive or flammable, or that, upon exposure to heat, may cause an explosion or fire.
  • Handling of the substance can cause health and safety issues to individuals.
  • The substance is in a form likely to decompose or produce mold or is already in this state to the extent that storage would pose a health and safety risk.
  • Size or quantity of the seizure does not allow for secure storage and thus poses a security risk.
  • The contents of a container cannot be confirmed (due to missing label, suspected tampering or contamination, etc.) and it appears that storage would create a risk to health and safety. The container labelling suggests that the standard secure storage facility would not be appropriate for storage of the particular product (e.g. "Volatile substances").

Officers should be aware that if property is destroyed under s. 26 of the CDSA or s. 105 of the CA, a court may subsequently order compensation to any lawful owner or lawfully entitled person under s. 24 (5) of the CDSA or s. 103(5) of the CA, respectively. Health Canada recommends that a senior officer oversee disposition under these sections and that these provisions be used with caution, particularly when it is known or anticipated that there may be a lawful owner or lawfully entitled person.

5.2.15.4 CA s. 106 - Destruction of cannabis plants

The Attorney General must be notified in advance if plants are to be destroyed under s. 106. Only the plants that are grown contrary to the provisions of the CA or the associated Regulations may be destroyed under this section. Please note that this section does not apply to expedited destruction of plants whose storage or handling poses a risk to health or safety. For the latter cases, s. 105 of the CA must be used.

Officers must inform the Attorney General prior to destruction of cannabis plants under s. 106 of the CA. Health Canada recommends that a senior officer oversee destruction under s. 106 of the CA, and that these provisions be used with caution, particularly when it is known or anticipated that there may be a lawful owner or lawfully entitled person. Only those plants that are being produced contrary to the provisions of the CA or the associated Regulations are to be destroyed under s. 106 of the CA. Please note that this section does not apply to expedited destruction of plants whose storage or handling poses a risk to health or safety. For the latter cases, s. 105 of the CA must be used

5.2.15.5 CDSA s. 27, CA s. 107 - Forfeiture order for destruction

If a substance has been ordered to be disposed of by a Justice at the end of court proceedings, disposition may occur. Samples that were taken can also be destroyed if they are not required for the purposes of a preliminary inquiry, trial or other proceedings under this Act or any other Act of Parliament.

5.2.15.6 CDSA s. 28. CA s. 108 - Disposition with consent

The lawful owner or lawfully entitled person has voluntarily consented to disposition.

5.2.16 Signature of the responsible officer for the disposition

The officers responsible for the disposition of a controlled substance, precursor, chemical offence-related property, cannabis or chemical property must write their name including their regiment number (badge number) or other identifying number and the date the report is being submitted. You may include one or two names.

6. Retention of seized Controlled Substances for training and other purposes

If a seized, found or otherwise acquired controlled substance or cannabis is no longer required for court purposes under the CDSA, the CA or any other Act of Parliament, instead of disposing of it, the chief or the responsible police officer of the detachment may send a request to HC providing the purpose (e.g. training, undercover operations, etc.), name of the substance, quantity, and police file number of the seized substance.

7. Special cases for disposition

7.1 Contaminated and mutilated Canadian currency

For all paper or polymer money contaminated with a controlled substance, precursor or cannabis, Bank of Canada policies should be consulted. For more information please call 1-800-303-1282.

7.2 Contaminated and mutilated Canadian coins

All the Canadian coins (5 cents to $2) contaminated with a controlled substance, precursor or cannabis need to be packaged consistent with procedures at the Bank of Canada. For more information, please contact the Canadian Mint at 1-800-267-1871.

7.3 Non-chemical offence-related property

The Seized Property Management Directorate (SPMD) within the Public Service and Procurement Canada is responsible for assets seized or restrained under specific sections of the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Cannabis Act and the Proceeds of Crime (Money-Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. SPMD has to be appointed by the court under s. 15.1 of the CDSA or s. 93(1) of the CA.

SPMD provides advice to police agencies and Crown prosecutors on the value of target assets and the estimated costs of management prior to seizure. Once an asset is seized by the police and an order of management or restraint has been issued by the appropriate judicial authority under s. 15.1 of the CDSA or s. 93(1) of the CA, SPMD takes possession and control of the reported seized asset or manages the restrained property in accordance with that order. For more information regarding non-chemical offence-related property, please consult the Government of Canada's seized property management services or contact SPMD.Registration@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

8. Submission of the Completed Report

The Seizure and Disposition Report form must be reported to HC within the time limits specified by the CDSA and/or the CA. Pending further notification, seizures of all substances included within this document, including cannabis, are to be reported to the Office of Controlled Substances. It is preferred that the form be received by email at hc.drugs.disposition-drogues.sc@canada.ca.

Reporting Timeline
Type of Substance Seizure Disposition
Controlled Substances Within 30 days of the seizure. Within 30 days of the disposition.
Precursors
Chemical Offence-related Property
( CDSA)
Cannabis
Chemical Property (CA) Not applicable Within 30 days of disposition

The Seizure and Disposition Report form (CS-FRM-0013) can be emailed or faxed to HC at these coordinates:

Contact information for the Office of Controlled Substances:

Health Canada
Office of Controlled Substances
150 Tunney's Pasture Driveway
A.L. 0300B
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9
Tel.: 613-946-1143
Fax: 613-941-4760
Email: hc.drugs.disposition-drogues.sc@canada.ca

9. Appendix A: Key legislative text

  1. Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
  2. Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Police Enforcement) Regulations
  3. Cannabis Act
  4. Cannabis Act (Police Enforcement) Regulations

10. Appendix B: Definition List

A controlled substance
is any substance included in Schedule I, II, III, IV or V of the CDSA. Examples include fentanyls, amphetamines, barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
A precursor
is any substance included in Schedule VI of the CDSA (e.g. pseudoephedrine, red/white phosphorus, ergotamine).
As per the CDSA, chemical offence-related property (ORP)
is offence-related property that is a chemical or precursor and includes anything that contains such property or has such property on it. This also includes any object that is contaminated or still contains chemical ORP such as lab equipment, pill presses and containers with unknown liquids or powders.
Cannabis
means a cannabis plant and anything referred to in Schedule 1 of the CA but does not include anything referred to in Schedule 2 of the CA.
As per the CA, chemical property means
  1. any chemical offence-related property;
  2. a chemical that is not chemical offence-related property; or
  3. anything that contains a chemical referred to in paragraph (b) or anything that has such a chemical on it.
As per the CA, chemical offence-related property
means offence-related property that is a chemical and includes
  1. anything that contains any offence-related property that is a chemical; or
  2. anything that has any offence-related property on it that is a chemical.
Inspector
is defined as a person designated by the Minister of Health under s. 30 of the CDSA. Under the CA, inspector is defined as an individual who is designated as an inspector under section 84.‍
Officer
means a "peace officer" as defined in s. 2 of the Criminal Code

11. Appendix C - Cannabis Classification

Cannabis Classes to report on the Seizure and Disposition Form under "Name of Substance"
Schedule IV Cannabis Act Dried Cannabis Fresh Cannabis Cannabis Extracts Edible Cannabis Cannabis Topicals Cannabis Plant Seeds Cannabis Plant
Definitions in the Cannabis Act or in the Regulations Dried cannabis means any part of a cannabis plant that has been subjected to a drying process, other than seeds. Freshly harvested cannabis buds/flowers and leaves, but does not include plant material that can be used to propagate cannabis.

Substance that has been produced by
(a) (i) subjecting anything referred to in item 1
of Schedule 1 to the Act to extraction processing, or
(ii) synthesizing a substance that is identical
to a phytocannabinoid produced by, or found
in, a cannabis plant; or
(b) a substance or mixture of substances that contains or has on it a substance that has been produced in a manner referred to in paragraph (a).

It does not include cannabis topicals or edible cannabis.
Substance or mixture of substances that contains or has on it anything referred to in item 1 or 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act and that is intended to be consumed in the same manner as food. It does not include dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants or cannabis plant seeds. Substance or mixture of substances that contains or has on it anything referred to in item 1 or 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act and that is intended for use, directly or indirectly, exclusively on external body surfaces, including hair and nails. Not defined under the Cannabis Act. Cannabis plant means a plant that belongs to the genus Cannabis.

Examples of potential preparations

(not an exhaustive list)

dried leaf; dried bud/flower; dried shake; dried trim; dried branches; capsules containing dried cannabis material TBD “budder”; capsules; candles; “crumble”; “diamonds”; distillate; essential oils; kief; hashish; home sprays/freshners; incense; isolates; oil; resin; “rosin”; “shatter”; suppositories; tablets; tincture; vaping liquids; “wax”

baked goods; beverages; confections; dried meat/poultry/fish; canned food; honey/spreads; oils/dressings/butter

bath bombs; creams/lotions; foams;
hair/body sprays; lip balm
massage/body oil; nail polish; ointments; salves;

soaps; transdermal patches
viable seed
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