Ontario Criminal


Drug offences

General
Food and Drugs Act (Can.) supported inclusive interpretation of definition of “drug”

Between March 2008 and January 2010, accused marketed and sold products that contained 1-Benzyl-Piperazine (“BZP”), substance similar to amphetamine. During that time, BZP was not listed under any schedule in Food and Drugs Act (Can.) (“FDA”) or Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Can.). Health Canada warned accused that it considered BZP to be drug, and requested that he apply for necessary approvals and licences. Accused was eventually charged with regulatory offences under FDA and regulations. Accused’s application for directed verdict was dismissed. Accused was convicted. Accused appealed. Appeal dismissed. Definition of “drug” in FDA applies to all substances manufactured, sold, or represented for use in modifying organic functions, regardless of whether substance is intended for medicinal, therapeutic or recreational use. Legislative history and relevant Hansard evidence suggested that intention of legislature was that definition of “drug” would extend beyond merely therapeutic or medicinal uses. Greater statutory context and its legislative history did not support accused’s restrictive interpretation. FDA supported inclusive, rather than restrictive interpretation of definition of “drug”. BZP was advertised as preventing addiction to other more harmful substances, and statement fell squarely within offence set out in s. 3 of FDA.

R. v. Wookey (Aug. 5, 2016, Ont. C.A., E.E. Gillese J.A., David Watt J.A., and M. Tulloch J.A., CA C58019) Decision at 105 W.C.B. (2d) 94 was affirmed. 132 W.C.B. (2d) 336.

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