The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced the members of the Expert Panel on the legislative review of the Cannabis Act. The Panel will provide independent, expert advice to both ministers on progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives and help identify potential areas for improving the functioning of the legislation.
The ministers have taken a number of factors, such as geography, expertise, and demographic representation, into consideration when making their selection. They have carefully selected individuals who represent Canada’s diversity, and collectively hold significant public sector experience, expertise in public health and justice, and experience engaging with Indigenous communities and organizations.
The Expert Panel, chaired by Morris Rosenberg, will lead a credible and inclusive review with the following members:
- Dr. Oyedeji Ayonrinde
- Dr. Patricia J. Conrod
- Lynda L. Levesque
- Dr. Peter Selby
The ministers have mandated the Expert Panel to engage with the public, governments, Indigenous peoples, youth, marginalized and racialized communities, cannabis industry representatives, and people who access cannabis for medical purposes, to gather their perspectives on the implementation and administration of the Cannabis Act. The independent Expert Panel is also expected to meet and consult with experts in relevant fields, including, but not limited to, public health, substance use, criminal justice, law enforcement, Indigenous governance and rights and health care.
To help inform the Panel’s work, Health Canada has extended their online engagement process for Indigenous peoples. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples are invited to read and provide feedback on the Summary from Engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples: The Cannabis Act and its Impacts, which is open until January 15, 2023.
“The Expert Panel will provide us with an independent, inclusive and evidence-informed review of the Cannabis Act and its economic, social, and environmental impacts, as well as the progress that’s been made displacing the illicit cannabis market. We welcome the Expert Panel members and look forward to reviewing their findings to help address the ongoing and emerging needs of Canadians while protecting their health and safety,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health.
“The Cannabis Act has been instrumental in our efforts to protect youth from accessing cannabis, displacing the illegal market, and providing adult consumers with access to a safe supply of cannabis, but there’s more work to do. We congratulate the new members of the Expert Panel, and look forward to their work assessing our progress in meeting the goals of the Act and guiding our next steps,” said The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
- The Act requires the Minister of Health to conduct a review of the legislation, its administration, and operation three years after coming into force, and for the Minister to table a report on this review in both Houses of Parliament 18 months after the review begins.
- The legislative review will assess the progress made towards achieving the Act’s objectives, and will evaluate:
- Impacts on young persons;
- Progress towards providing adults with access to strictly regulated, lower risk, legal cannabis products;
- Progress made in deterring criminal activity and displacing the illicit cannabis market;
- Impacts of legalization and regulation on access to cannabis for medical purposes;
- Impacts on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples and communities; and
- Trends and impact of home cultivation of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
- The Panel will broaden that focus to include:
- Economic, social and environmental impacts of the Act;
- Impacts on racialized communities, and women who might be at greater risk of harm or face greater barriers to participation in the legal industry based on identity or socio-economic factors.
- Budget 2022 included a commitment that Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) would establish a cannabis industry engagement mechanism to advance industry-government collaboration.
- ISED is presently designing a cannabis forum that will foster industry-government dialogue, and provide a means for industry and government to examine issues relevant to the long-term competitiveness and stability of the sector.