Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it is an offence to import any illicit drug into Canada.
Importing drugs typically implies an individual who is the possession of illicit drugs moving the items
from one international region into the borders of Canada. However, it is not necessary for the individual
to be in actual possession of the drugs upon entering the country. Instead, if it can be proven that the
individual was in anyway involved in causing/planning for the drugs to be brought over the border:
there could be sufficient grounds for conviction.

Knowledge is a central legal principle for the offence of importing drugs. In order to convict the
individual of this offence, it must be shown that the individual had knowledge that illicit substance was
being brought over the border. Therefore, if it is proven that an individual had no knowledge that an
illicit drug was packaged in their goods, and therefore no knowledge that they in fact importing the
drug, the requisite intention would not be present, and a conviction would be not possible.

Defences to Drug Importation:

Including lack of knowledge and intent, the following are some additional defences to Drug Importing:

If it can be shown that an individual has imported drugs because there was an urgent situation of
imminent peril and there was no reasonable legal alternative to disobeying the law, and there was
proportionality between the harm inflicted (the offence) and the harm avoided, then one can
successfully use the defence of necessity.


Duress arises when a person breaks the law because they are under the compulsion of threats and
immediate fear of death or bodily harm. For instance, if a person was kidnapped by gun point, and
brought over the border, the defence of duress may be relied on.

Penalties for drug importing

The maximum penalty for importing a drug banned under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act can
range from 10 years to life in prison. Penalties will vary depending on the nature of the drug imported
as well as the quantity of the drugs. The importation of “hard drugs” such as heroin or cocaine will
demand higher sentences than “softer drugs” such as hashish or marijuana.

For those individuals who have been charged with drug possession, or possession for the purpose of
trafficking, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal lawyer in order to evaluate your options.
Impact Law has represented individuals who have been charged with possession and trafficking of
cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, hashish, speed, GHB, PCP, Doda (poppy seeds), magic mushrooms,
and ketamine or any other drug listed in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III or Schedule IV of the
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.