Drug Trafficking (Offence)

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Drug Trafficking
s. 5(1), (2) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Election / Plea
Crown Election Indictment / Hybrid
summary proceedings must initiate within 12 months of the offence (786(2))
Jurisdiction Prov. Court

Sup. Court w/ Jury (*)
Sup. Court w/ Judge-alone (*)

* Must be indictable. Preliminary inquiry also available.
Summary Dispositions
Avail. Disp. varies by Schedule
Minimum varies by Schedule
Maximum varies by Schedule
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. varies by Schedule
Minimum varies by Schedule
Maximum varies by Schedule
Reference
Offence Elements
Sentence Digests

Overview

Offences relating to drug trafficking are found in Part I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act relating to "Offences and Punishment".

Pleadings
Offence
Section
Offence
Type
Crown Election Defence Election
s. 536(2)
Preliminary Inquiry
s. 5(3)(a) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule I or II] Indictable Offence(s) N/A OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png (life max)
s. 5(3)(b) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule III or V] Hybrid Offence(s) OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png (* only if Crown proceeds by Indictment) X Mark Symbol.png (under 14 years max)
s. 5(3)(c) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule IV] Hybrid Offence(s) OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png (* only if Crown proceeds by Indictment) X Mark Symbol.png (under 14 years max)

Offences under s. 5(3)(a) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule I or II] are straight indictable. There is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2). Offences under s. 5(3)(b) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule III or V] are hybrid with a Crown election. If prosecuted by indictment, there is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2). Offences under s. 5(3)(c) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule IV] are hybrid with a Crown election. If prosecuted by indictment, there is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2).

Before the Crown can rely on provisions increasing the duration of the weapons prohibition order due to a prior weapons prohibition order notice under s. 727 must be given prior to plea.

Release
Offence(s) Appearance Notice
by Peace Officer

s. 497
Summons
by Judge or Justice

s. 508(1), 512(1), or 788
Release by
Peace Officer
on Undertaking

s. 498, 499, and 501
Release By
a Judge or Justice
on a Release Order

s. 515 to 519
Direct to Attend
for Fingerprints, etc.
Identification of Criminals Act

s. 2 ID Crim. Act
s. 5(3)(a) [trafficking in substance – Schedule I or II] X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 5(3)(b) [trafficking in substance – Schedule III or V] X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 5(3)(c) [trafficking in substance – Schedule IV] X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png

When charged under s. 5 [Schedule I or II], the accused can be given a judicial summons without arrest. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 498 or 499 on an undertaking with or without conditions. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.

When charged under s. 5 [Schedule III or IV], the accused can be given an appearance notice without arrest under s. 497 or a summons. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 498 or 499 on an undertaking with or without conditions. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.

Under s. 515(6)(d) offences under s. 5(3)(a) [Schedule I or II] are subject to a reverse onus on bail where it is "an offence punishable by imprisonment for life under any of sections 5 to 7 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or the offence of conspiring to commit such an offence".

Reverse Onus Bail

If police decide to bring the accused before a Justice pursuant to s. 503, there will be a presumption against bail (i.e. a reverse onus) if the offence, prosecuted by indictment, was committed:

  • while at large under s. 515 [bail release], 679 or 680 [release pending appeal or review of appeal] (s. 515(6)(a)(i));
  • "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association" with a criminal organization (s. 515(6)(a)(ii));
  • where the offence involved a firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, while the accused was subject to a prohibition order preventing possession of these items (s. 515(6)(a)(viii)); or
  • where the accused is not "ordinarily a resident in Canada" (s. 515(6)(b)).
Publication Bans

For all criminal or regulatory prosecutions, there is a discretionary general publication ban available on application of the Crown, victim or witness to prohibit the publishing of "any information that could identify the victim or witness" under s. 486.5(1) where it is "necessary" for the "proper administration of justice". Other available publication bans include prohibitions for publishing evidence or other information arising from a bail hearing (s. 517), preliminary inquiry (s. 539) or jury trial (s. 648). There is a mandatory publication ban in all youth prosecutions on information tending to identify young accused under s. 110 of the YCJA or young victims under s. 111 of the YCJA.

Offence Designations
Offence(s) Wiretap
Eligible

s. 183
Dangerous Offender
Designated Offence

s. 752
Serious Personal
Injury Offence

s. 752
AG Consent Required Serious Criminality
Offence
s. 36 IRPA
s. 5(3)(a) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule I or II] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 5(3)(b) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule III or V] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 5(3)(c) CDSA [trafficking in substance – Schedule IV] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png

Offences under s. 5 CDSA are designated offences eligible for wiretap under s. 183.

Offences under s. 5 CDSA are designated "serious personal injury" offences under s. 752(a) only if it has a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration or more and involves "use or attempted use of violence against another person" or "conduct endangering or likely to endanger the life or safety of another person or inflicting or likely to inflict severe psychological damage on another person".

Under s. 8 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Court is not required to impose a mandatory minimum sentence unless notice is given before plea.

See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.

Offence Wording

Trafficking in substance

5 (1) No person shall traffic in a substance included in Schedule I [opiates and related], II [cannaboids], III [psychedelics], IV [barbiturates] or V [repealed] or in any substance represented or held out by that person to be such a substance.

Possession for purpose of trafficking

(2) No person shall, for the purpose of trafficking, possess a substance included in Schedule I [opiates and related], II [cannaboids], III [psychedelics], IV [barbiturates] or V [repealed].
[omitted (3), (4), (5) and (6)]
1996, c. 19, s. 5; 2012, c. 1, s. 39; 2017, c. 7, s. 3; 2018, c. 16, s. 196.
[annotation(s) added]

CDSA


Note up: 5(1) and (2)

Draft Form of Charges

See also: Draft Form of Charges
Pre-ambles
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, between the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR> and <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>***, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, on or about the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"AND FURTHER at the same time and place aforesaid, he [or she]..."
Code Section Subject of Offence Draft Wording
"..., contrary to section 5 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Proof of the Offence

Proving Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking under s. 5 CDSA should include:[1]

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. Possession of Substance (Knowledge, consent, control)
    1. must have knowledge of the illegal nature of the substance
  5. Substance is a Control Substance under the CDSA (certificate of analysis, chain of possession, amounts found)
  6. the culprit knew of (or held a belief as to) the nature of the substance
  7. Possession of Substance was not authorized
  8. The culprit intended to traffic the Substance

Proving Trafficking should include:

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. the culprit was trafficking in a substance
  5. the substance was Schedule I to V Controlled Substance
  1. R v Chan, 2003 CanLII 52165 (ON CA), (2003), 18 C.R. (6th) 322, per Simmons JA at 30 to 32

Interpretation of the Offence

See also: Drug Trafficking

Where the drug is under Schedule II, the offence is an absolute jurisdiction offence and must be tried in provincial court.[1]

  1. see s. 553

Typical Defences

Sentencing

For General Sentencing Principles for all drug offences, see Sentencing for Drug Offences

History

See Also

References