Relevant exemptions to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Between 2018 and 2020, Health Canada has issued a number of exemptions to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. These exemptions:

Some of the exemptions have been issued to maintain Canadians' access to controlled substances during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Relevant Exemptions to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Exemption Document Description Date Issued / amended
Pharmacists – modifying controlled substance prescriptions - Prescription management by pharmacists with controlled substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and its regulations Policy Explains what prescribing activities pharmacist can perform with controlled substances, including changing formulations and dispensing prescriptions in subdivided amounts Issued on March 19, 2020
COVID-19 - Frequently asked questions: Subsection 56(1) class exemption for patients, practitioners and pharmacists prescribing and providing controlled substances in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic Frequently Asked Questions Related to the short-term exemption during the COVID-19 pandemic Issued on March 19, 2020
COVID-19 - Subsection 56(1) class exemption for patients, practitioners and pharmacists prescribing and providing controlled substances in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic Exemption Permits pharmacists to extend, renew, and transfer prescriptions; Permits practitioners to verbally prescribe prescriptions with controlled substances; and Allows an individual to deliver controlled substances to patients (at their homes or an alternate location). Effective date March 19, 2020
Pharmacy Return Programs - Section 56(1) Class Exemption for Pharmacists, Practitioners, Persons in Charge of a Hospital and Licensed Dealers for the Provision and Destruction of Unserviceable Stock and Post-consumer Returns Exemption Allows the return of patient medication to the pharmacy for destruction Effective date February 23, 2018
Nurses exemption - Supplementary information: Subsection 56(1) exemptions Supplemental information Information to help explain the exemptions Issued January 9, 2019
Nurses exemption - Subsection 56(1) Class Exemption for Nurses providing Health Care at a Community Health Facility Exemption to nurses Authorizes nurses who provide health care services at a community health facility to sell, provide or administer controlled substances. Amended January 9, 2019
Nurses exemption - Subsection 56(1) Class Exemption for the Person in Charge of a Hospital and/or a Pharmacist who Supplies Controlled Substances to a Community Health Facility Exemption to supply community health facilities Authorizes Persons in Charge of a hospital and pharmacists to supply controlled substances to a community health facility Amended January 9, 2019
Transportation of controlled substances in Canada Policy Describes which professionals can transport controlled substances, including prescriptions to patients under the current federal laws of regulations Issued September 5, 2018
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