An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (landlord consent)

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.


Cathy McLeod  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Defeated, as of May 30, 2018
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to provide for regulations requiring the consent of landlords to activities in leased premises in respect of controlled drugs and substances.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


May 30, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-330, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (landlord consent)

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

May 25th, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Scarborough Southwest Ontario


Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise to speak to Bill C-330, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This private member's bill proposes to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow regulations to be made that would require written consent from landlords in the event that their tenants were producing or selling a controlled substance within leased space. If applicable, Bill C-330 would also establish a mandatory requirement for the Minister of Health to report back to Parliament on an annual basis to explain why such regulations had not been made.

As my colleagues know, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is a legal framework for the control of substances that can alter mental processes and that may produce harm to individuals or society when diverted to an illegal market. Under this act, it is illegal to conduct certain activities with respect to controlled substances or precursors, unless authorized by regulation or granted by an exemption.

If I may, I will take the opportunity to correct an issue of language. My colleague and friend across the aisle, in his remarks, referred frequently to a prescription for medical marijuana. I want to take the opportunity to clarify, if I may, that there is no such thing as a prescription for medical marijuana. It is, in fact, an authorization, which provides for an exemption under the current criminal prohibition, as directed by the courts in the Allard decision, and as incorporated into regulations under the new ACMPR regulations.

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act includes broad authorities that enable the government to strictly regulate the production and sale of controlled substances.

I would like to articulate a number of the reasons the government is unable to support Bill C-330. When introducing the bill on December 14, the member for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo indicated that it sought to address concerns from landlords about tenants growing cannabis for medical purposes in leased premises. Bill C-330 could, in fact, have implications for a number of parties that are regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act who operate within leased facilities. This could include, for example, licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes and licensed producers and dealers of other controlled substances.

If a licensed producer or dealer of a controlled substance is operating in a commercially rented facility, the lease agreement will typically include details on the specific activities that are taking place within the facility, making the landlord aware that controlled substances are being produced there. The landlord would, therefore, consent by way of approving the lease.

To obtain a federal licence to commercially produce cannabis for medical purposes in cases in which the applicant is not the owner of the site, an application must be accompanied by a declaration by the owner of the site consenting to its use for the proposed activity, and like federally licensed producers and dealers of controlled substances, including licensed producers of cannabis for medical purposes, individuals authorized to produce cannabis for their own medical use are subject to regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Cannabis for medical purposes is regulated under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

These regulations aim to provide reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes for Canadians who have received an authorization from their health care practitioners. Under these regulations, Canadians can legally cultivate a determined amount of cannabis for their own medical use or designate someone to produce it for them. These regulations contain landlord consent requirements applicable to personal and designated production if the production site is not the ordinary place of residence of the applicant or the designated producer, and the site is not owned by them.

Finally, as members of this House also know, Bill C-45, the cannabis act, is currently before the other place. This act would create a strict framework to control and regulate the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis using a public health approach, in which public health and public safety objectives would be at the forefront. Should it receive royal assent, cannabis would no longer be regulated under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Regulations with respect to cannabis, for both medical and non-medical purposes, would be enacted under the cannabis act, and this would include the landlord consent requirements that currently apply to cannabis for medical purposes, about which I have previously spoken.

Under this new legal framework, adults would be permitted to legally possess and purchase limited amounts of cannabis through a government-licensed retailer. Subject to applicable provincial, territorial, and municipal rules, adults may also be allowed to cultivate up to four plants at their place of residence.

Allowing for the cultivation of a small number of cannabis plants at home supports the government's objective to displace the illicit market. It is a reasonable way to allow adults to cultivate cannabis for their own personal use, while prohibiting any commercialization and sale of that which is produced for personal use and which prohibits large-scale grow ops, which will attract the criminal sanctions contained within that bill.

The approach our government is taking with respect to home cultivation is consistent with the advice we received from the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation and with the approach that has been taken by most jurisdictions in the United States that have legalized and regulated cannabis for non-medical purposes.

Provinces and territories have the authority and can assess the need for additional restrictions within their jurisdictions, and they will be responsible for enforcing those rules. In fact, some provinces have already chosen to incorporate such restrictions in their proposed legislation, and I will give some examples.

New Brunswick would require a locked enclosure around outdoor cultivation and a separate locked space for any indoor cultivation.

Alberta has proposed that all cultivation will take place only indoors and it will allow landlords and strata councils to restrict cannabis cultivation.

Nova Scotia has recently proposed to provide landlords with the ability to ban the smoking and growing of cannabis within rental units.

These are just a few examples of how provincial legislation would be used and relied upon to establish rules that are tailored to each province.

Additionally, each municipality has the ability, through its zoning and bylaw jurisdictions, to enact additional regulations to control and to ensure this conduct is done in a way which is safe and socially responsible.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsor of the bill for providing us with an opportunity to debate this important matter.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

May 25th, 2018 / 1:40 p.m.
See context


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to join the debate today on Bill C-330, introduced by the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

What does this bill purport to do? Bill C-330 would be making an amendment to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, specifically section 55. Section 55 of that act lists all the areas where the Governor in Council is able to make regulations for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of the act. What the bill would do is insert a new clause under paragraph 55(1)(g). Paragraph(55)(1)(g) allows the Governor in Council to make regulations “respecting the premises, processes or conditions for the production or sale of any controlled substance or any class thereof, and deeming such premises, processes or conditions to be or not to be suitable for the purposes of the regulations”.

The proposed paragraph 55(1)(g.1) that the member wants to insert through this bill would require persons or classes of persons who intend to produce or sell any controlled substances to obtain the written consent of the landlord, and it would prescribe the manner and form in which that consent is to be obtained and the conditions under which it must be renewed. That is what this bill is purporting to insert into the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

I have a few problems with this bill because I think it oversteps its bounds in a few areas, and I will walk the House through them.

I will start off with the Allard decision rendered by the Federal Court a few years ago, which was in response to the previous Conservative government's regulations that dealt with medical cannabis and the authorizations included therein. The new access to cannabis for medical purposes regulation was the Liberal government's response to the Federal Court of Canada's February 2016 decision. In that decision, the court found that the requirement for individuals to get their cannabis only from licensed producers, which was the regime for medicinal cannabis imposed by the previous Harper government, violated the liberty and security rights protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I feel this bill would be inserting another impediment to the constitutional and charter-protected rights of patients to access medicinal cannabis. If the federal government is going to insert itself, through this law, by basically mandating that written consent would have to be authorized by a landlord, the courts could reasonably see that as an impediment and a contradiction of the spirit of the ruling rendered by the Federal Court in 2016. That is my number one reason.

As I walk the House through this, I think the big problem is that this bill would very clearly insert itself into provincial jurisdiction. If we look at section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, specifically subsection 13, it is very clear that provincial jurisdiction over property and civil rights is there for all to see. Provincial jurisdiction over that area has been reaffirmed by the courts on numerous occasions, and I know provincial governments are very quick to assert their right in this particular area if they suspect any federal intrusion.

Property and civil rights can cover a whole range of issues, and I think that was the intent of the Fathers of Confederation. They wanted matters of a merely local or private nature, basically property and civil rights, to be included under provincial jurisdiction. Canada is a very big and very diverse country, and from British Columbia to Manitoba to Prince Edward Island we have various different local cultures. The provinces need to be authorized to make laws that fit the local cultures in each of those provinces. I feel that by trying to legislate how written consent has to be informed in the relationship between a tenant and a landlord, Bill C-330 would be very clearly inserting a federal power into an area defined under property and civil rights.

The very clearly written Allard decision by the Federal Court on a section 7 protected right for access to medical cannabis for patients who require it, and the fact this is very clearly an area of provincial jurisdiction are two clear reasons why I think the House should vote against this bill.

I would also like to talk a little about the federal criminal law power, because it is another thing we have to talk about with respect to this particular bill.

In previous rulings, the Supreme Court of Canada has held that a valid criminal law requires, first, a prohibition; second, a penalty; third, a criminal law purpose, such as peace, order, security, morality, and health. If I look at the aim of Bill C-330, I do not think it really matches the requirements of a federal criminal law power. If we look at the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, that is very much what it concerns. It tries to prohibit or to limit certain types of behaviour.

We know that the bill is being discussed in the context of medicinal cannabis, because recreational cannabis, as was rightly pointed out by the government side, will come under a new regime once Bill C-45 receives royal assent. However, I think that a federal bill that aims to become a statute but inserts itself into property and civil rights is not a valid exercise of the federal criminal law power. That is a third point that we have to be aware of when discussing the bill.

While I talk about this, let there be no illusion that I don't have sympathy for landlords who are going through this. I think every member of Parliament has had landlords approach them who have valid concerns about how their properties are being managed. I would say to them that, for most of the issues, the provincial governments will be responsible for regulating these kinds of contracts in their residential tenancy acts and so forth. I know that the Government of British Columbia has come forward with some proposals specifically with reference to when Bill C-45 is implemented. The member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo is quite right to be suspicious of Health Canada's inspection regime, because I do not think Health Canada has allocated enough resources or is carrying out enough inspections to ensure that licence holders are complying with the terms of their licences.

I have brought this very same issue to the attention of the Minister of Health. I wrote her a letter on behalf of constituents a few years ago, and I did get a response. I will read from that letter from the health minister, because I think we need to keep the pressure on the health minister to live up to her obligations. Part of her response reads:

The Department has taken measures to ensure that Canadians are well informed about the rules and their responsibilities to help them comply with the new regulations [the ACMPR]. We have also emphasized the need to comply with all relevant provincial, territorial and municipal laws, including local by-laws about zoning, electrical and fire safety, as well as all related inspection and remediation requirements. We have also outlined on our website precautions Canadians can take to reduce risks to their health and safety.

I will be following up with the Minister of Health, because I still think there are some very real gaps. Obviously, from the feedback I have heard from constituents, the actions of Health Canada thus far do need some improvement. I hope that the parliamentary secretary is listening to my concerns, because I will be following up on them.

I think it is a question of resources and commitment that we need to take up with the health minister. When we look at the minister's response, she has outlined “provincial, territorial and municipal laws”. She acknowledges that this is an area of provincial concern and jurisdiction; hence, lending more credence to the argument that Bill C-330 kind of falls outside the scope of what we are able to do.

I will conclude by saying that while I cannot support Bill C-330, I will respect the intent behind it. I know that the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo has identified a problem and is trying to take action to solve it. However, I just do not think that Bill C-330 is the answer. I think that we need to keep the pressure up on Health Canada and the Minister of Health to ensure that the inspection regime is running as well as it possibly can.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

May 25th, 2018 / 1:50 p.m.
See context


Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, allow me to read the following headline in The Vancouver Sun, “Marijuana grow-op cost $135,000 in damages: B.C. property owner.” The article says:

A Coquitlam woman says she has incurred $135,000 in damage to her rental property due to a medical marijuana grow-op licensed by Health Canada without her knowledge or consent.

That is what we are discussing today.

I would like the thank the Conservative member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo who has come forward to defend the thousands of Canadians who rely on rental properties as a source of income and even retirement. I know people in my constituency for whom a rental property is not just a little extra money. It is not even just an investment. It is a pension plan. Middle-class people who do not have corporate or government plans often build and/or purchase rental properties in order to generate enough income and equity upon which to retire.

It is a win-win when they do that because they provide more affordable housing in our communities. However, the prospect that some may use those properties to host medical or other recreational marijuana growth within the house is threatening the value of the important asset in which the landlord has invested.

This threat is very real. Damage from grow ops in a residence can include the following: mould, humidity damage, electrical wire tampering, wall damage, floor damage, ventilation damage, plant and smoke smell and odours. These damages can effectively destroy the value of a house and make it impossible to resell and, ironically, make it uninhabitable for the person who originally started the grow op in the first place.

If such damage is allowed to occur in the rental properties of the nation, we will have fewer rental properties. When the supply goes down, the price goes up. The result being rental housing becomes less affordable for those people who need it the most.

What I like most about the bill is that it is so straightforward. The whole bill can be read in one page. The bill itself is really one paragraph, and I will read it:

...requiring that persons or classes of persons who intend to produce or sell any controlled substance or any class of controlled substances in leased premises obtain the written consent of the landlord, and prescribing the manner and form in which that consent is to be obtained and the conditions under which it must be renewed;

It is very simple. If people want to grow marijuana in a house that they rent, they need the permission of the property owner. That is a basic article of property rights. If people are going to do something with someone else's property, his or her permission is needed. It is very simple. Most of the best things in life are simple, and that is why we have a bill, thankfully and mercifully, written in one paragraph with a simple aim and an obvious outcome.

If Bill C-330, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, targeting the growing and use of legalized for the production of marijuana for medical use as well as the potential forthcoming requests for business space to sell marijuana, passes, it will require the consent of landlords to tenants if those tenants are going to use the property for the production of marijuana.

We know landlords are aware of the very serious risks that could befall them if they should rent a property to someone who plans to use that same property for the production and use of medical or other forms of marijuana.

Unfortunately, the bill does not have the jurisdictional reach to touch upon recreational marijuana. However, that said, such an example set in the medical space at a federal level may act as an encouragement for provinces to use landlord and tenant legislation to address recreational marijuana as well. That is why Bill C-330 is the best approach to providing landlords the assurance they need. It does not require the creation of unwarranted and unnecessary government bureaucracy to manage this area. It simply requires that landlords give permission to their tenants to use their property for the production and sale of marijuana. Simply put, if the landlord approves of this behaviour in his or her property, he or she will provide a written, signed, and legal consent form to the tenant to engage in these activities. If the landlord does not provide the written, signed, and legal consent, the tenant cannot engage in the production of marijuana on the property. It is very straightforward. If the tenants proceed to do so, they will be in violation of their leasing agreement and the landlord will be able to remove the tenants. In other words, the landlord has ownership of the property and he or she deserves to know if someone is using the property in a potentially destructive manner, and if he or she refuses permission, he or she should have the ability to impose that decision because it is his or her property. This is not unfair to tenants; it is simply logical. If tenants are unhappy with those lease conditions, they are afforded the ability to find new housing and re-enter the housing market in accordance with their province's legislative conditions. Again, it is landlords across the country who take the inherent risk and associated cost of mortgaging and maintaining rental properties, and they must be provided this basic protection.

As I have noted, marijuana production and sales are going to rapidly change over the next several years. As a result, we need to change the legislative framework in which that happens to ensure that all Canadians are protected and that everyone acts with respect for each other's property. Some will argue that medical marijuana is necessary, and I am not here to dispute that. That is not the point of this debate. I am simply here to suggest that property owners should have the autonomy and authority to protect their property against damage.

Some people have suggested that this could simply be regulated at a provincial level. That is not true, because in the case of medical marijuana, a federal licence is extended to the person producing it, and that federal licence may have overriding power over landlord-tenant rules and over other contractual obligations. That is why we need a very simple clause inserted into the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that would protect our landlords against this problem.

The government, I gather, might not support this particular legislation. I would urge the government, for political reasons, to consider otherwise. Normally the Liberals do not take political advice from me, but I will implore them, just once, to do so. If they refuse, I predict that they will regret that refusal when the time comes. That time in the next election will be when the situations just described will be unfolding. I do not think Liberal MPs will want to meet landlords and entrepreneurs who have lost tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of dollars of their net worth because somebody used their property as a grow op without their permission. Let us stand up for our entrepreneurs; let us stand up for the pensions of private individuals who are trying to save for the future; and let us stand up for the availability of affordable private housing by requiring consent for anyone attempting to grow marijuana at a property that does not belong to her or him.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

May 25th, 2018 / 2 p.m.
See context


Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member for Carleton's intervention on this private member's bill. It goes to the heart of what we do here as members of Parliament. Our role is to represent the interests of our communities, to establish safe, respectful communities where business people can do business in a way that is honourable, communities where we have neighbourhoods where people care for each other and respect each other's property.

We heard the member for Carleton talk about a Vancouver Sun article about a landlord who lost $135,000 because of a grow op in the home he was renting out. Let me read some other headlines: from the CBC, “Landlords fear property values will go up in smoke with marijuana legalization”; from the Toronto Star, “Ontario landlords want right to ban pot in rentals immediately after legalization”; from the CBC, “Landlord pays high price for renter's medical marijuana grow-op”. Here is another one, from the Financial Post: “Pot's no party for Canadian landlords wary of marijuana fumes and steamy grow-ops”.

There is a real problem in communities across our country. This has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana in Canada. What it has to do with is that we now have in Canada a regime of medical marijuana in which those who are deemed to qualify to use marijuana for medical purposes can either purchase it or grow it themselves. When a landlord is leasing out his or her property, whether it is a single family home, a townhouse, or perhaps an apartment within an apartment building, currently the landlord has no ability to place conditions and restrictions on the tenant not to use that property for the purposes of growing or selling marijuana. Of course, what happens is that, unbeknownst to the landlord who has leased this property, the tenant is using his or her medical marijuana licence to grow plants. Tenants are entitled to grow up to 15 plants of their own if they are using about three grams per day, but they are also entitled to have three other users growing on their property. We can imagine how big this problem can get, especially if it is an apartment.

We have heard many pleas from Canadians across the country, and Bill C-330 would finally put in place a landlord's right to place restrictions and conditions when leasing the property to a tenant. These are restrictions that relate to the use, sale, production, and growth of marijuana on that property.

I want to commend the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo for an amazing job in moving this bill forward. She represents her community very well. Her community reflects the challenges that communities across our country have faced for many years. Illegal grow-ops and medical grow-ops are causing no end of problems for the communities in which these facilities are located.

I can share the experience of my own community. Abbotsford is a beautiful community, nestled between Mount Baker on one side and the Fraser River on the other. It is the largest farm gate revenue producer in British Columbia. It is a prosperous community. It is also the most generous community in the country, by a country mile, by the way. That is what Stats Canada says.

This is a great community to live in, but it has had a few challenges. One of the biggest challenges has been illegal marijuana grow-ops, and now that has been followed by medical grow-ops. Essentially, people who have an authorization to grow medical marijuana on their property, and for others as well, are now effectively operating commercial grow-ops on a smaller scale within neighbourhoods.

These are not commercial buildings. These are not industrial buildings. These are residential communities. These grow ops are surrounded by families with young children. They have to put up with the oppressive smell, the stench of marijuana plants as they grow. I have smelled it many times. I have had friends who have had these challenges.

I used to be on city council in Abbotsford. Day after day residents would come to council and ask us what we were doing to shut down these illegal operations, these operations that should not have been there and were causing such grief within our broader neighbourhood. All we could tell them was that our police authorities, our building inspectors, and our fire department were doing their very best.

Under privacy laws, the locations of these medical grow ops cannot be disclosed, so our law enforcement officials do not really know where they are. Any locations are generally complaint-driven, and the options available for municipal authorities to shut down these grow ops are extremely limited.

Can members imagine living next to one of these buildings or one of these homes, smelling the odour of marijuana and knowing that nothing can be done about it? My colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo has brought forward a common sense bill that at least would allow landlords to address the issue of these grow ops that are causing no end of grief within our communities.

There is also a landlord's perspective. Imagine being a landlord with a 50-suite apartment building. Most of the apartment dwellers are law-abiding and do things in accordance with the law. Even if they do have authorization to purchase medical marijuana, they do so in small quantities. They do not grow a large number of plants within their apartment.

However, there is that one tenant who did not disclose in advance to the landlord his or her intention to grow many plants within their unit. Suddenly the surrounding residents want to know what is going on in the building.

A cascading effect takes place here. Now the landlord has a problem, because he may not be able to get rid of the tenant, and even if he is able to do so, what happens next? He likely will have thousands upon thousands of dollars in damages. He will have to bring in people to fix the damage within that unit. If he is renting out a house, imagine how expensive that could be. Members may have read about the house that had $135,000 worth of damage as a result of a grow op in the place.

It gets worse.

The municipality comes out to inspect the property and discovers it has been a grow op. That fact has to be registered against the title. Anybody who wants to purchase that home will not be interested, because it was a former grow op and they will be concerned about health problems.

The mortgage company is made aware of this. The landlord wants to renew the mortgage but is suddenly told by the bank that it cannot take the risk. The landlord goes to insure the property against fire and other perils, but the insurer says that unfortunately it cannot be renewed because the property was used as a grow op.

The landlord has an apartment that has to be remediated as a result of all the damages caused by the grow op, and all of his tenants are leaving the building. The landlord loses rent, is unable to insure the building, and is no longer able to mortgage the property.

We can see the cascading effects when legislation that is perhaps well intentioned ends up being abused within Canada.

Bill C-330 is a remedy for landlords. It is a remedy for neighbourhoods.

It would not solve all the problems with grow ops across Canada. We have recreational marijuana close to being legalized in Canada. That is going to create many other problems, but at least one remedy is being brought forward. I strongly support Bill C-330.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

April 18th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
See context


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

moved that Bill C-330, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (landlord consent), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand and debate my private member's bill in the House today. I look at the two votes we just had which were unanimous. They were on items put forward by Liberal members and concern very practical matters that will make things better for Canadians. I certainly I hope this particular piece of legislation will be received in the same spirit of co-operation, because I am truly convinced that this bill would make things much better and solve a really significant and difficult issue.

What Bill C-330 would do if passed is amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to provide for regulations requiring the consent of landlords to tenant activities in respect of controlled drugs and substances. More specifically, the enactment would require the written consent of any landlord on whose premises the production or sale of any controlled substance is to occur.

The bill is in response to the access to cannabis for medical purposes regulations, which came into effect August 24, 2016. These new regulations do not require individuals who wish to produce marijuana in their residence to notify or seek the consent of their landlords. The federal government failed to provide clear direction for landlords and insurance companies when it made changes to the medical marijuana rules.

Under the rules, Health Canada gives specific guidelines on how to safely set up a medical grow op, but when it comes to checking if the safety rules are being followed, the federal department is leaving that up to the municipalities. I think all of us who live in communities have had our municipalities express extreme frustration on this issue. According to the local development and engineering services director in Kamloops, the problem is that federal privacy rules apply, which prevent local authorities from knowing where medical marijuana is being grown. They do not get a list of addresses, so they cannot actually do anything proactively in terms of going out and inspecting the premises. It is a significant issue. There is no system to proactively check if tenants are growing the allowed number of plants according to their permit.

When asked about this issue, the health minister said the federal government's role is to ensure people who need medical marijuana have access. I want to pick up on that point. I do not disagree that people who need medical marijuana should have access, but I want to give an example. Some people need digoxin for their heart, but they do not have to actually grow foxglove in their home to get digoxin. If people need something that is medically necessary, surely to goodness we could find a better way than having them grow it in their home because they cannot afford it. We have found ways around antibiotics and drugs like digoxin. We do not require people to grow their own medication. The government says that we have to provide access, but who is looking out for the landlords who have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into their homes? They are having their homes destroyed because the federal government has not found a better way to provide access to needed medical marijuana. Surely we can do better than that.

This is important for people who might be listening, because there is a lot of talk right now about the new recreational regime. Bill C-45, which is before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, is a proposed regulatory framework for cannabis for recreational purposes. As I talk, members will see there is a huge difference between what is proposed for recreational use and medical marijuana.

With medical marijuana, the task force that was tasked with going around and making recommendations to the government essentially suggested that as the government moved toward legalization of marijuana and regulations the distinct system of the medical marijuana regime be maintained for medical purposes.

We have two very distinct systems. One is recreational, and that is Bill C-45, which is moving through the Senate. We also have the issue of medical marijuana, which has been around for many years.

The medical regime will allow people, including those under the age of 18, with the support of a health care practitioner, to have access to cannabis for medical purposes. They can purchase it from a federally licensed seller of cannabis for medical purposes. They can cultivate their own, if they are over the age of 18, or designate someone to grow cannabis on their behalf, which is called “designated production”.

There used to be limits on how much cannabis could be stored. The Liberals tried to align the recreational and medical regimes, but they took away the limits on what can be stored, which had been in place before.

When the Liberals put out the new regulations around recreational use, they talked about four plants. I think they did that because they knew they would be heading into the difficult territory we have seen with the medical regime. It is four plants. It can be regulated. The provincial authorities have the ability to regulate. For example, strata condominiums can say whether one can have dogs or cats. There is an ability for provinces to create some regulations around the four-plant designation. I believe some provinces are saying no to the home grow and others are saying yes. The government recognized that with any more than four plants it would be heading into very difficult territory, but there was no consideration given to the issue. It is only the federal government that can solve this issue with the medical marijuana. The provinces cannot do it nor can anyone else.

It is important to note that with a medical licence, people can grow their own and be designated to grow for someone else. There is a maximum of four licences to grow cannabis in one residence. For example, a 1,500 square foot apartment could have up to four licences. What does that mean in practical purposes? If one has been prescribed three grams per day, that means one could have 15 plants indoors, six plants outdoors, or a combination of indoor and outdoor plants. However, it is not uncommon or all that extreme that a person may have a prescription for seven grams a day. I remember the government moving the limit for our veterans from 10 grams to three grams. Again, seven grams is a number we can use. If there is a licence to grow for four people at seven grams a day, a person could have an enormous number of plants indoors. It could be up to 120 plants growing indoors if someone had four licences for seven grams. It is an incredible amount.

I will recount the true story of someone who came into my office, and this was part of the genesis of the bill. He shared his story with CBC in February 2017:

Longtime landlord Darryl Spencer was left scrambling for insurance after discovering a tenant was growing dozens of medical marijuana plants inside and outside his rental house.

When the landlord told his insurance company about the perfectly legal grow-op, his coverage was cancelled, leaving him with no insurance, few rights and a big cleanup bill.

Spencer says the downstairs tenant in the Kamloops, B.C., rental property got a medical marijuana licence that allowed him to legally grow as many as 60 plants without his landlord's permission or knowledge.

This was his retirement savings plan, by the way. He had decided to put his money into a revenue-making rental property. There were 60 plants there without his knowledge.

The article continues:

A call from a concerned neighbour prompted Spencer, who is also a retired fire inspector, to check out the home he's rented out to different tenants for a decade.

He discovered a mess of extension cords, fans and bright lights packed into a room filled with dozens of marijuana plants. The upstairs tenant, a woman with a small child, was complaining about heat radiating through the walls and electrical breakers going off....

...landlords have little recourse if a tenant is growing licensed medical marijuana. They don't even have the right to know it's happening. Yet it's landlords who are being denied insurance

They do not have the right to know what is happening when a tenant is growing medical pot.

Spencer told Go Public, “I was worried about the fire hazard. That was my first thought because of the extension cords, the use of electricity and that something could catch fire.”

When he notified his insurance company about his tenant's grow-op, Gore Mutual cancelled his coverage.

“They wouldn't cover claims to do with medical marijuana or air quality contamination,” he said.

Gore Mutual Insurance said that it “does not provide coverage for marijuana grow-operations regardless of their legality because this type of operation in a residential building presents inherent insurance risks.”

The article continues:

Those risks, the company says, include “a greater likelihood of water damage, mould, fire, vandalism and burglary.”

Under most basic home insurance policies, marijuana-related damages or anything that companies believe is “high risk” is not covered.

This is a view that is shared by many insurance companies, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“While regulations may allow for the legal growing of marijuana for medical purposes, it does not change the structural risk grow-ops pose to homes and condos.... The operation of a grow-op, whether legal or not, is still a high-risk activity.”

That was from Andrew McGrath, spokesman for the Insurance Bureau, in an email to Go Public. The article continues:

Gore Mutual Insurance told Spencer it might reinstate his coverage if he got rid of the tenant and took specific steps to ensure the house was safe to live in.

He actually had no ability to get rid of this tenant because of the laws of the land. He actually had to tell his tenant he would pay him to leave. That was a significant cost for him.

The article states:

The insurance company also wanted air and soil testing, plumbing and electrical inspections, and the house checked for mould.

Spencer did it all, while searching for another insurance company that would cover him right away. None would.

He went for quite a while with no insurance. I remember that he came in and chatted with me in my office. He was devastated. He was absolutely beside himself seeing his life savings potentially completely at risk.

As I noted, he finally paid the tenant to leave, then he did all the remediation that was required. Of course, he is out thousands and thousands of dollars.

We talk about availability and affordability of housing in this country. When we have potential landlords who are terrified that if they rent their homes they will have no recourse, and they still do not in terms of this medical marijuana issue, I think they rightfully are saying that they are not going to rent. They will take their homes off the market or sell them. Therefore, this is an issue that has ramifications for more than individuals and their finances. It has significant ramifications for the availability of affordable housing.

Go Public covered the story. Eventually Spencer did all the work and managed to cover things off.

I do not think anyone is appreciating the cost to landlords of people growing medical marijuana. According to the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, it can be absolutely prohibitive.

What I am asking is that we get support to get this to committee. I appreciate that people who have a need for medical marijuana need affordable access to it, but surely, at the same time, we cannot be jeopardizing the hundreds and thousands of dollars of investments by people across this country who are being absolutely devastated by this particular structure of a regulation.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

April 18th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
See context


Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to debate Bill C-330, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, also referred to as “landlord consent”.

I would like to thank the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo for giving us the opportunity to debate this issue.

As my hon. colleagues know, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is the federal law used to control substances that can alter mental processes and that may cause harm to health and society when diverted to an illicit market.

Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, it is illegal to conduct certain activities with controlled substances or precursors unless authorized by regulation or if an exemption is granted. These regulations and exemptions allow for lawful activities with a medical, scientific, or industrial purpose. Bill C-330 proposes to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to provide a specific regulation-making authority concerning the creation of requirements for written consent from landlords to produce a controlled substance in leased premises. It would also require the minister of health to report back to Parliament on an annual basis to explain why additional regulations had not been made, if that is the case.

I would first clarify that the bill, as written, would have implications not only for individuals who are authorized to cultivate small amounts of cannabis for medical purposes but for other parties using leased space, including licensed producers of cannabis and licensed dealers of other controlled substances.

I remind members that the existing regulations on controlled substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act have quite a broad scope. They allow the government to tightly regulate a wide range of activities and aspects connected to the production and sale of controlled substances.

In addition, if a licensed dealer were to produce such substances in a commercially rented facility, the lease agreement would likely include details on the specific activities taking place in the facility, making the landlord aware that the controlled substances were being produced. Consent would be provided by way of approving the lease.

The commercial production of medical cannabis is already regulated by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, created under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Provisions in the access to cannabis for medical purposes regulations require that any application for a producer's licence be accompanied by a declaration by the owner of the site consenting to its use for the proposed activities, if the applicant is not the owner of the site.

As we debate Bill C-330 today, I think it is important to consider Bill C-45, the cannabis act, which is currently being studied by the Senate.

Should this legislation receive royal assent, oversight of cannabis would, for the most part, no longer fall under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act but rather under this new legislation, the cannabis act. A change in federal oversight would include comprehensive requirements for producers of cannabis and rules for individuals who choose to legally cultivate a small amount of cannabis in their homes for both medical and non-medical purposes.

If the cannabis act is passed, it will create a new legalization framework, with stringent regulations restricting access to cannabis by controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis. If BillC-45 receives royal assent, adults will be able to access cannabis that has been quality controlled and that comes from a legal and tightly regulated industry.

Provinces and territories would be responsible for the distribution and retail sale of cannabis, while the federal government would oversee the production of cannabis to ensure consistent product safety and quality standards across Canada.

Subject to provincial limitations, the bill would also permit adults to grow up to four cannabis plants at home for personal use, provided that they were obtained legally. Allowing adults to grow a limited amount of cannabis in their dwellings is consistent with the advice from the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation and with the approach adopted by many jurisdictions in the United States that have legalized cannabis.

If the bill receives royal assent, both the commercial producers and any adults who choose to cultivate a small amount of cannabis at home will have to comply with the provincial, territorial, and municipal regulations in place. This would include compliance with all fire prevention regulations, building codes, and any rules or regulations set by the landlord or leaseholder.

Provinces, territories, and municipalities, based on their own authorities, have the flexibility to set additional requirements and restrictions, beyond what is being proposed in the cannabis act, to address matters of local concern and community priorities. In fact, a number of provinces have already decided to pursue such additional restrictions with respect to home cultivation.

For instance, Alberta is proposing that all home grow-ops be limited to indoor cultivation only. Nova Scotia wants to grant landlords the power to prohibit the use and cultivation of cannabis in rental units. New Brunswick wants all outdoor cultivation to be done in locked enclosures, and proposes separate, locked spaces for all indoor cultivation.

We will continue to work closely with provincial and territorial governments, municipalities, as well as other stakeholders and partners, to successfully implement our new legislative and regulatory framework to strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis.

Once again, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to debate this issue.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

April 18th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
See context


Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Madam Speaker, it is pleasure to rise to speak to Bill C-330, which is the initiative of my colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

As I understand the initiative, when she introduced it on December 14, 2016, the member moved that this be an amendment to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to deal not with recreational cannabis but rather to the issue of medical marijuana grown in homes and the impact it would have on landlords. Her remarks today illustrate that was the objective of the bill, that medical marijuana grown at home should be done so only, she claims, with the written consent of the landlord. That is what we are here to talk about, not, as I understand it, the issue of recreational cannabis, as seems to have been understood by others.

The initiative is well intentioned. The story that was recounted by my colleague from the CBC program At Issue, or whatever the CBC program was, is a poignant one. I, however, believe the bill would not do the job. I have several reasons for that, but I certainly understand the challenge she has put before us, which has to be addressed by insurance companies.

We have to provide more authority for landlords to address their legitimate interests. If there is the ability to have 120 plants for four people in an operation, if a person has a licence to grow seven grams a day as the member indicated, it seems to me we should do some serious analysis of how that could be. The intention of the regulations, which I will talk about in a minute, was not to allow that to occur, with all of the intended consequences that she eloquently described.

First, and in our view, the bill would create an unjustified barrier to patients' charter-protected rights to have reasonable access to medicinal cannabis. That is the law of the land, for better or for worse, since the Federal Court so decided in the Allard case.

Second, there is already a housing crisis in my part of the country. To the extent that this would be even a tiny impediment, that is something we ought to look at as well. I concede it is not the main issue here, but if one lives in a housing crisis, as I do in the city of Victoria, any restriction on tenants is something we need to address. I recognize the bill would apply, by the way, to residential and commercial landlords as well.

Third, I do not believe, despite what my friend said, that this is a federal matter at all. Landlord-tenant legislation has been the provinces' jurisdiction since Confederation. If there are problems with the federal Privacy Act, let us fix it. However, amending the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to deal with landlord consent is, in my judgment, unconstitutional and would never be accepted by the Supreme Court of Canada. Whether this is motivated by fearmongering over medicinal cannabis I do not know, but it has been repeated by our courts on many occasions that patients have a charter right to reasonable access to medicinal cannabis. Therefore, an additional obstruction to that, a restriction on that right, is something we should look at very carefully.

Municipalities have the authority to deal with this. I certainly believe the rentalsman in our province. If necessary, attendant legislative reform when we bring in legislation to address cannabis in a more holistic way is where we need to deal with this. However, to suggest that we would change criminal law to do so is overkill, unnecessary, and is likely inappropriate constitutionally anyway.

The bill purports to amend the whole Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Despite its wide breadth, it is intended to respond to the access to cannabis for medical purposes regulations. Although we do not see that in the face of the bill, I think that is the objective. However, it applies beyond that as well.

That regulation allows individual patients to produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes or to designate someone to produce it for them. Designated people can only grow for a maximum of two individuals, including themselves.

The member made a good point in describing how that could be abused and how we could have, in her judgment, up to 120 plants in a house. Anybody who has been in a grow-op, as I have, will know the impact that can have on property values, and of that there is no doubt. I am not here to deny for a moment the devastating impact that can have on property.

The Constitution now allows, thanks to the Allard case from 2016, that there be this reasonable access to cannabis for a patient. If that is abused, it can be addressed in other ways. I think that is what the gravamen of the member's concern really is—that the abuse is obvious—but I am not entirely sure that to grow a couple of plants for use is going to cause the concerns that she has suggested in the worst extreme examples that she has given us.

A story from Global News in February of this year demonstrates the growing need for access to medical cannabis. We have heard a lot about this from veterans and others. Their claim is as follows:

The most recent Health Canada figures show that at the end of [2016], almost 130,000 Canadians had signed up with the country’s 38 licensed cannabis producers .That’s a 32 per cent jump from the more than 98,000 registered at the end of September 2016 and up from the 7,900 granted access to medicinal cannabis in mid-2014.

There has been an enormous increase in access to medical cannabis under the legislation that was brought in by the government, the medical cannabis regulations that were addressing a specific response to the Allard decision. The government had to do something; they did it, and that is what they did.

Bill C-330 seems designed to create a new barrier to reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes. In addition, subsection 177(7) of those regulations already requires owner consent if the proposed site of production is not the ordinary place of residence of the applicant or of the designated person. Anyone who would be cultivating more than the permissible amount or selling marijuana out of a residence would already be engaged in an illegal activity, irrespective of whether written consent by the landlord is obtained.

I think the fear that this proposed bill is addressing, as was made clear in the hon. member's remarks, is the potential impact on property values and the potential damages. I think that is an issue that should be addressed separately.

With respect to provincial jurisdictions, it is up to the provinces to determine how they choose to regulate rental properties. I think the member has demonstrated that there is a need here to address this issue, but that does not mean that it should be an amendment to the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to deal with this issue. It is an issue that needs to be changed.

Every province in the land is now addressing the challenge of cannabis. This is about medical cannabis. I understand that, but that is no reason why we cannot use this opportunity to amend our legislation. Municipalities and the provinces are making changes. We can change the landlord-tenant law to address it. Just as a landlord has every right to say that there will be no smoking of any substance in a property, for these kinds of property damage issues some kind of regulated access may need to be provided from time to time.

When safety is an issue, if there is any reasonable cause to suspect those kinds of electrical wires that the member spoke of, or if there are other obvious concerns, they should be addressed. The issue is where we address them. I do not believe they should be addressed in essentially federal criminal law, as the member would do.

Many jurisdictions in the United States have regulations about cannabis and landlord consent, although most are determined by state or municipal governments. For instance, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act provides that an owner can prohibit the smoking or cultivation of marijuana in a written lease. That state is not one of the states, by the way, that has legal marijuana for recreational use.

In Colorado, where cannabis use for medical and recreational purposes is permitted, one of the cities there, Gunnison, has a municipal code and marijuana business licensing regulations that require landlord consent as part of the application to operate a marijuana establishment. Therefore, suitable regulations are available.

In conclusion, first, this is the law of the land, whether we like it or not. Second, it is using a sledgehammer to kill an ant. Third, it is no doubt unconstitutional anyway.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActPrivate Members' Business

April 18th, 2018 / 7:15 p.m.
See context


Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, since I only have a couple of minutes, I will cut to the main part of what I was going to discuss.

First is a reminder that we are not debating Bill C-45. We are debating something completely different. It was disappointing that so much of the debate seemed to be confused with Bill C-45.

I spent many years in the mortgage industry, as some are aware. The ability to grow substantial amounts of medical marijuana in a home, without a landlord's consent, or with the landlord's consent, for that matter, produces some extremely difficult problems. The mortgage industry and the insurance industry have for years and years been extremely clear about not wishing to either insure or mortgage a property in which marijuana has been grown, whether legally or not. The issue has been expressed by many others. It is about the health hazards, the destruction of the property, the compromise of the structural integrity of the home, and the presence of noxious fumes and mould. These are the types of issues. Even if a person can legally grow 120 plants, no mortgage lender will ever mortgage a property that has been known to have had marijuana, in any quantity, grown in it.

This is a serious issue about stigmatizing a property. Once a property is known to have been used for the cultivation of marijuana, it becomes literally unmarketable. For many years, this would come up time and again. An application for a loan would come in. It would become known and disclosed that marijuana had been grown on the property, and no lender would touch it. I do not have time to read here the lending practice, but I can assure the House that marijuana being grown in a home makes the home unmarketable.

Bill C-330 attempts to address that issue by giving landlords at least some ability to control what goes on in their own property that will affect the marketability of the property, the insurability of the property, and certainly the ability to get a mortgage for the property. I support the bill for that reason. It would give some level of protection to landlords so that if they chose to rent a property to someone who would grow marijuana legally, under a medical marijuana prescription, it would be a contracted choice between the landlord and the tenant.

At present, landlords are in a disadvantaged position, where they risk their property through the growth of marijuana. It is perfectly legal, from the point of view of having a prescription for medical marijuana, or indeed, not that I want to bring Bill C-45 into it, but if it is passed and given royal assent, even to grow two plants. We might all agree that two plants is not a health hazard.

Right now, the mortgage and insurance industries do not agree with that. In 20-plus years as a mortgage broker, I never saw a lender that would knowingly mortgage a property when it was known to have had marijuana growing in it. That is something that the federal government will need to address, and the bill is a way to address it so that at least a landlord would have the ability to insist that marijuana not be grown in a property and would have at least some level of protection.

Madam Speaker, you only gave me two minutes. I trust I have exceeded that, and I will conclude with that, if that is your wish.