Illicit Drugs

Drug trafficking is an international problem with growing links to other criminal activities. Canada places a high priority on a co-ordinated international response to aid other countries and meet international standards, and is committed to working multilaterally, regionally and bilaterally on drug issues. Canada has developed complementary domestic and international responses to combat illicit drugs.  Domestically, Canada’s efforts were outlined in October 2007 with the announcement by Prime Minister Harper of the National Anti-Drug Strategy. The Strategy’s three priority areas – prevention, treatment, and enforcement - form a comprehensive approach to reducing the supply of and demand for illicit drugs domestically.  Canada promotes the principles of the National Anti-Drug Strategy as a template for countries to consider in addressing the world drug problem.

International Initiatives

Internationally, Canada's commitment to anti-drug efforts includes many  agreements, including three United Nations Conventions related to drugs.

  • The 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol;
  • The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and
  • The 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

In addition, Canada has in place bilateral mutual legal assistance treaties that enable it to lend and obtain mutual assistance for drug offences with other countries. Canada's extradition treaties prevent drug traffickers from using international borders to avoid prosecution.

The three main multilateral groups through which Canada co-operates for international drug control are the:

Canada also participates in several groups outside of the UN whose focus includes the deterrence of illicit drugs and drug trafficking, including the Dublin Group; the Paris Pact; and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

With other countries, Canada lends assistance in drug control and related areas through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade as well as through bilateral programs of domestic agencies, including the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, and Health Canada.