Drugs & Law

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1. The Laws

The Criminal Code of Canada

  • The Criminal Code of Canada (usually denoted as C.C.C.) is basically the “book of laws” for Canada. Most offences are found in the code; however, there are also other offences found in different pieces of legislation, known as “Acts.” For example, most drug offences are found in the “Controlled Drug and Substances Act.”

  • The Criminal Code also defines many powers and authorities for police officers and other justice officials. The Criminal Code provides penalties (jail terms or fines) for individual offences.

  • The Criminal Code of Canada and many of the acts are passed by the Parliament of Canada.


The Youth Criminal Justice Act

  • The Youth Criminal Justice Act is the piece of legislation that governs how young people will be handled should they break the law.

  • Young people between the ages 12 – 17 are considered to be young offenders. Once you have turned 18 years of age you are considered to be an adult and are sent to adult court.

  • Young offenders are seen in youth court; however, there is a provision in the act to have serious offences transferred to adult court. Should the case be transferred to adult court, adult court penalties would apply.

  • For the purposes of prosecution, the age that you are at the time you commit an offence is the age that determines what court you would be tried in. For example, while you were 17 years old you stole from a store. You were arrested a few days later but by then had turned 18 years old. The offence happened when you were 17 and you would be tried in youth court.


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • The Constitution Act (1982), that includes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is the supreme law of Canada. As such, all other laws and workings of all governments must be consistent with its provisions. The Charter and Supreme Court of Canada decisions made under the Charter guarantee everyone equality regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability. The Charter and Supreme Court decisions also promote the development of programs that are designed to redress the conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups.


The Human Rights Code

  • The provisions of the Human Rights Code apply to private parties and provincial public institutions. The Code exists to prevent discrimination and harassment and, through special program provisions, to foster proactive steps to promote human rights. Human rights law prohibits the creation and/or fostering of negative or poisoned environments that threaten human rights.


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