What is the Penalty for Importing Drugs into Canada?
When dealing with the importation of drugs into Canada, we look to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (the “CDSA”), and more specifically, section 6(1). This section reiterates that other than the authorized by the regulations enacted under the CDSA, no person shall import or export any substances listed in schedules I, II, III, IV, V or VI of the CDSA. These substances can range from opium to codeine, to barbital or even Hydriodic acid.
An important part here is that there are different penalties for different drugs based on the schedule they have been categorized under in the CDSA. The penalties regarding the import or export of drugs is noted under section 6(3) of the CDSA. Here, imprisonment can range from a term not exceeding one year, all the way to a term of imprisonment for life. This is reflected in the Alberta Court of Appeal case of R. v. Overacker (2005), where the Crown appealed an eight-year prison sentence, imposed on the respondent after he plead guilty to importing cocaine into Canada. The court stated “there would be no cocaine problem in Canada without the cocaine importer, acting as principal or as a courier”, and concluded with by substituting a sentence of imprisonment for 12 years instead.
Can I Legally Import Guns into Canada?
In order to determine whether a gun can be imported into or exported from Canada, one must look to the Firearms Act. Section 35(1) deals with authorized exportation and importation. Here, a non-resident who doesn’t have a licence, may import a firearm that is not a prohibited one, but there must be certain conditions present at the time of the importation. For example, the non-resident must be eighteen years old or older, they must declare the firearms to a customs officer and in the case of a restricted firearm, they must produce authorization to transport it. The customs officer must also confirm all of this in order to allow it.
This is reflected in case law as well. In the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (as it was then) case of R. v. Luft (1996), the judge stated that because the accused was instructed to declare the firearms at customs, there was no mens rea (guilty mind) on the part of the accused to actually commit the offence. This showcases how integral the declaration and adherence to section 35(1) of the Firearms Act is.