Analysis of Drugs Under the CDSA

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Certificate of Analysis

Any alleged drugs seized by police are sent to an analyst under s. 45(2) of the CDSA.

Designation of analysts
44 The Minister may designate, in accordance with the regulations made pursuant to paragraph 55(1)(o), any person as an analyst for the purposes of this Act and the regulations.
45 (1) An inspector or peace officer may submit to an analyst for analysis or examination any substance or sample thereof taken by the inspector or peace officer.
(2) An analyst who has made an analysis or examination under subsection (1) may prepare a certificate or report stating that the analyst has analysed or examined a substance or a sample thereof and setting out the results of the analysis or examination.


After the drugs are sent for analysis, a certificate with the results of the analysis of the substance is generated. It may be filed with the court for the truth of its contents with proper notice.

Certificate of analyst
51. (1) Subject to this section, a certificate or report prepared by an analyst under subsection 45(2) is admissible in evidence in any prosecution for an offence under this Act or the regulations or any other Act of Parliament and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof of the statements set out in the certificate or report, without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed it.
Attendance of analyst
(2) The party against whom a certificate or report of an analyst is produced under subsection (1) may, with leave of the court, require the attendance of the analyst for the purpose of cross-examination.


Where a certificate of analysis has been admitted for the proof of the type of controlled substance that was seized, there is no need to produce the actual drug in court.[1]

Objections to the admissibility of certificates must be made at the time that the certificates are tendered and not after the Crown has closed its case.[2]

Evidence to the Contrary
See "Evidence to the Contrary"

  1. R v Maltese, 1978 CanLII 1695 (ON SC)
  2. R v Dowding, 2004 BCCA 287 (CanLII)

Notice to Admit the Certificate

(3) Unless the court otherwise orders, no certificate or report shall be received in evidence under subsection (1) unless the party intending to produce it has, before its production at trial, given to the party against whom it is intended to be produced reasonable notice of that intention, together with a copy of the certificate or report.


Proof of notice
52. (1) For the purposes of this Act and the regulations, the giving of any notice, whether orally or in writing, or the service of any document may be proved by the oral evidence of, or by the affidavit or solemn declaration of, the person claiming to have given that notice or served that document.
Proof of notice
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the court may require the affiant or declarant to appear before it for examination or cross-examination in respect of the giving of notice or proof of service.


Service of Notice

Notice upon accused's counsel is sufficient notice.[1]

There is some question of whether service by fax of a certificate of analysis is sufficient, particularly where Rules of Court requires service more than fax.[2]

Service in relation to a proceedings on an information will equally apply to a proceedings on a replacement information.[3]

  1. R v Finlay, 1991 CanLII 1048 (BC CA), ("It has been settled law in this Province for several decades that service of a notice of intention to produce a certificate of analysis and the certificate on an accused's counsel rather than on the accused personally satisfies the requirements of s. 9(3) of the Narcotic Control Act")
  2. R v Phung, 2011 ABQB 427 (CanLII), -- in this case, fax not sufficient
  3. Finlay ("This Court has also held that a notice and certificate served in the course of proceedings on an information that is subsequently withdrawn at the trial and replaced by a second information charging the same offence is valid service and that the certificate of analysis is admissible")

Timing of Notice

There must be "reasonable notice" of the intention to admits the certificate.[1]

Factors to consider whether notice was reasonable include: [2]

  • complexity of the case;
  • time between the the arrest and trial date;
  • intervention of holidays and non-work days;
  • accused's access to counsel;
  • the content of the certificate and notice;
  • prejudice created by the timing of notice;
  1. s. 51 of CDSA
  2. MacFarlane, Fraser, and Proulx "Drug Offences in Canada"

See Also