Subsection 56(1) class exemption for adults in the province of British Columbia to possess small amounts of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA
This exemption is granted in consideration of the following
- too many lives have been lost due to overdose in the province of British Columbia. Others have been forever altered;
- substance use harms are first and foremost a health and social issue and should be treated as such;
- stigma associated with substance use can lead people to hide their drug use, use in riskier ways and prevent them from accessing services and supports;
- Indigenous and racialized communities have been and are disproportionately impacted by the overdose crisis and are overrepresented in the criminal justice system;
- the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) has a dual purpose to protect public health and maintain public safety; and
- the province of British Columbia has requested that an exemption be granted under subsection 56(1) of the CDSA so that adults will not be subject to criminal charges for the personal possession of small amounts of certain controlled substances as part of its comprehensive response to address the overdose crisis.
Except as provided below, the terms used in this exemption have the same meaning as those provided in the CDSA and its regulations.
"Adult" means an individual who is 18 years of age or older.
"Airport" means an aerodrome in respect of which an airport certificate issued under Subpart 2 of Part III of the Canadian Aviation Regulations is in force.
"Canadian Armed Forces Member" means, in accordance with the definitions in subsection 2(1) of the National Defence Act, an officer or non-commissioned member
- of the regular force;
- of the special force; or
- of the reserve force, when the officer or non-commissioned member is
- undergoing drill or training, whether in uniform or not,
- in uniform,
- on duty,
- called out under Part VI of the National Defence Act in aid of the civil power,
- called out on service,
- placed on active service,
- in or on any vessel, vehicle or aircraft of the Canadian Forces or in or on any defence establishment or work for defence,
- serving with any unit or other element of the regular force or the special force, or
- present, whether in uniform or not, at any drill or training of a unit or other element of the Canadian Forces.
"Canadian Coast Guard vessel" means a vessel, as defined in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, that is owned by the Government of Canada and is managed and operated by the Canadian Coast Guard.
"Child care facility premises" means the premises on which supervision of children under 13 years of age is provided in accordance with a licence issued under section 11 of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, S.B.C. 2002, c. 75.
"Code of Service Discipline" means the provisions of Part III of the National Defence Act.
"Illegal substance" means an opioid, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA, as set out in the Annex.
"K-12 School premises" means the premises
- owned or leased by a board or francophone education authority, as defined in the School Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 412, or an authority, as defined in the Independent School Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 216; and
- at which students receive instruction in an educational program, as defined in the School Act or Independent School Act, as applicable.
"Minor" means an individual under 18 years of age.
"Mobile equipment" means a self-propelled device that is incapable of exceeding 10 km/h and that
- can be steered only by an operator walking or standing behind, walking in front of or walking alongside the device;
- is a work platform used to raise and lower the following
- the operator of the platform, or
- tools and supplies; or
- is in a class of devices prescribed by the MVA or its regulations,
but does not include a device in a class of devices excluded by regulation made under MVA.
"Motor assisted cycle" means a device
- to which pedals or hand cranks are attached that will allow for the cycle to be propelled by human power;
- on which an individual may ride;
- to which is attached a motor of a type prescribed by the MVA or its regulations, and that has an output not exceeding the output prescribed by the MVA or its regulations; and
- that meets the other criteria prescribed under section 182.1 (3) of the MVA.
"Motor vehicle" means a vehicle, not run on rails, that is designed to be self-propelled or propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but does not include mobile equipment, a motor assisted cycle or a regulated motorized personal mobility device.
"MVA" means the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318.
"Premises" means a building or structure and includes outside areas adjacent to the building or structure ordinarily used in the course of providing services.
"Rail transportation" means
- a rail transportation system as defined in the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act, S.B.C. 1998, c. 30;
- a commuter rail service as defined in the British Columbia Transit Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 38; or
- the transportation of passengers by railway, as defined in the Railway Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 36.
"Regulated motorized personal mobility device" means a personal mobility device
- that is designed
- to be solely self-propelled or self-propelled with the capability to be propelled by human power, and
- subject to exceptions prescribed under section 210 (3.2) of the MVA, to transport one individual, and
- that meets other criteria prescribed under section 210 (3.2) of the MVA,
but does not include a motor assisted cycle.
"Watercraft" means a vessel or other craft in, on or by which an individual or thing may be transported or drawn on water, excluding Canadian Coast Guard vessels.
Scope of Exemption
Pursuant to subsection 56(1) of the CDSA, adults within the province of British Columbia are, subject to the conditions set out below, exempt from the application of subsection 4(1) of the CDSA if they are in possession of an illegal substance (see definition above), or any combination of such illegal substances, up to a maximum cumulative quantity of 2.5 grams.
This exemption does not apply
- on K-12 School premises;
- on child care facility premises;
- in airports;
- on Canadian Coast Guard vessels or in Canadian Coast Guard helicopters;
- to a Canadian Armed Forces member who is subject to the Code of Service Discipline;
- in a motor vehicle that is driven or operated by a minor, whether or not the vehicle is in motion;
- in a watercraft that is operated by a minor, whether or not the watercraft is in motion.
This exemption is applicable only if
- the possession of the illegal substance is for personal use with no intent to traffic, to export or to use in the production of a controlled substance in a manner that is not authorized under the CDSA; and
- in the case where the illegal substance is possessed on rail transportation or in a motor vehicle or a watercraft driven or operated by an adult, the substance is not readily accessible to the driver or operator.
This exemption expires on the earliest of the following dates:
- the date on which this exemption is replaced by another exemption; or
- 3 years after the effective date.
Suspension or Revocation
This exemption may be suspended without prior notice if the Minister determines that such suspension is necessary to protect public health or public safety.
The Minister may revoke the exemption if the Minister is of the opinion that it is no longer necessary.
Effective Date: January 31, 2023.
|Illegal Substance||CDSA listing||CDSA Schedule and Item|
|Opioid||Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum), its preparations, derivatives, alkaloids and salts||Schedule I, item 1|
|Phenylpiperidines, their intermediates, salts, derivatives and analogues and salts of intermediates, derivatives and analogues||Schedule I, item 3|
|Phenazepines, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 4|
|Amidones, their intermediates, salts, derivatives and salts of intermediates and derivatives||Schedule I, item 5|
|Methadols, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 6|
|Phenalkoxams, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 7|
|Thiambutenes, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 8|
|Moramides, their intermediates, salts, derivatives and salts of intermediates and derivatives||Schedule I, item 9|
|Morphinans, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 10|
|Benzazocines, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 11|
|Ampromides, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 12|
|Benzimidazoles, their salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 13 (not including (3) Footnote 1)|
|Fentanyls, their salts, derivatives, and analogues and salts of derivatives and analogues||Schedule I, item 16|
|Tilidine (ethyl2–(dimethylamino)–1–phenyl–3–cyclohexene–1–carboxylate), its salts, derivatives and salts of derivatives||Schedule I, item 17|
|Tapentadol (3-[(1R,2R)-3-(dimethylamino)-1-ethyl-2-methylpropyl]-phenol), its salts, derivatives and isomers and salts of derivatives and isomers||Schedule I, item 22|
|AH-7921 (1-(3,4-dichlorobenzamidomethyl)cyclohexyldimethylamine), its salts, isomers and salts of isomers||Schedule I, item 23|
|MT-45 (1-cyclohexyl-4-(1,2-diphenylethyl)piperazine), its salts, derivatives, isomers and analogues and salts of derivatives, isomers and analogues||Schedule I, item 24|
|U-47700 (3,4-dichloro-N-(2-(dimethylamino)cyclohexyl)-N-methylbenzamide), its salts, derivatives, isomers and analogues, and salts of derivatives, isomers and analogues||Schedule I, item 26|
Tramadol (2-[(dimethylamino)methyl]-1-(3-methoxyphenyl)cyclohexanol), its salts, isomers and salts of isomers and the following derivatives of tramadol and the salts, isomers and salts of isomers of those derivatives:
|Schedule I, item 27|
|Lefetamine ((-)-N,N-dimethyl-α-phenylbenzeneethanamine), its salts, derivatives and isomers and salts of derivatives and isomers||Schedule III, item 29|
|Zipeprol (4-(2-methoxy-2-phenylethyl)-α-(methoxyphenylmethyl)-1-piperazineethanol) and any salt thereof||Schedule III, item 31|
|Cocaine||Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine)||Schedule I, subitem 2(2)|
|Methamphetamine||Methamphetamine (N,α-dimethylbenzeneethanamine), but not including its salts, derivatives, isomers and analogues and salts of derivatives, isomers and analogues||Schedule I, item 18|
|MDMA||N-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxy-amphetamine (N,α-dimethyl-1,3-benzodioxole-5-ethanamine)||Schedule I, subitem 19(8)|
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: