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432-00566 (Health)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:

  • Health Canada has an open file (# 10-MM0330) to license a Medical Marijuana facility at 7827 Beaver Creek Rd., in Port Alberni, British Columbia;
  • This Walmart-sized cannabis facility would be located directly across the street (174m) from Kackaamin, a First Nations Family Trauma and Addictions healing centre that provides treatment to adults while housing the entire family, with onsite fully accredited daycare and K-12 school;
  • Kackaamin is doing the work of healing from our shared history of Colonialism and Residential Schools;
  • Kackaamin was never consulted in the initial planning of this facility, and has requested that this facility be located elsewhere;
  • The purpose of the Cannabis Act is “to protect public health and public safety"; and
  • The government of Canada has commitments to Reconciliation, UNDRIP and to implement TRC's Calls to Action.

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Health to:

  • Acknowledge the implicit racism in the policy choices of Health Canada's Cannabis licensing process and handling of this file;
  • Adhere to the purpose of the Cannabis Act and Principle of Reconciliation;
  • Expedite review of this file and cancel all cannabis licenses and applications at 7827, 7825 and 7821 Beaver Creek Rd., Port Alberni, BC. under s. 62(7)(g) of the Cannabis Act "in the public interest;"
  • Apologize to Kackaamin and reaffirm their commitment to the UNDRIP and the TRC's Calls to Action.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Jennifer O'Connell

The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. Health Canada works closely with Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities across the country to consider carefully any cannabis-related interests and to advance shared objectives of protecting public health and safety.

Due to Access to Information and Privacy laws, Health Canada is unable to disclose personal information or information provided by a third party, including the status of any licence application, unless granted consent. However, the Department has engaged specifically with representatives of the Kackaamin Family Development Centre, the City of Port Alberni, and the Province of British Columbia in the interest of promoting understanding and discussing community concerns.

The Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Regulations create a strict framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. The purpose of the Act is to protect public health and public safety by keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and profits out of the pockets of criminals, and providing adults with legal access to a quality-controlled source of cannabis. In order to achieve these aims, any licence application for medical marijuana facilities undergo a thorough and rigorous review, and any approved facilities are subject to strict enforcement measures.

Before submitting an application, an applicant must provide written notice of their intentions to the local authorities. The Department processes licence applications in the order received, and begins its review only after the applicant has submitted a complete application, including a site-evidence package that demonstrates that the site is fully built and compliant with the stringent requirements set out in the Act and Regulations. Some of the criteria by which Health Canada assesses an application include:

  • the physical security measures at the site;
  • the processes that will be used for the building and the equipment to help ensure that cannabis meets quality standards appropriate to its intended use;
  • the applicant’s demonstration of an air filtration system to prevent the escape of odours;
  • how the applicant will keep records of their activities with cannabis, such as records for tracking sales, product returns and product inventory; and,
  • the security profile of key personnel.

If Health Canada does issue a licence after this meticulous review, an applicant must comply with the Cannabis Regulations and all other applicable laws and is subject to any enforcement measures. These additional applicable laws include: local by-laws and fire codes; municipal, provincial and territorial laws, such as environmental or nuisance laws; as well as any by-laws/regulations made by a First Nation acting within their legal authority, if the application is for activities located on reserves. Health Canada possesses a range of enforcement tools to verify compliance, including inspections, to ensure that licensees produce, sell, and distribute cannabis in accordance with the Cannabis Regulations.

Health Canada encourages licence applicants to undertake consultation and engagement with local communities to address any concerns or questions they may have about proposed cannabis production facilities. The stringent controls on the commercial cultivation, processing, and sale of quality-controlled cannabis strive to safeguard the public health and safety of communities. Applications for licenses can be refused under grounds outlined in the Regulations, especially if there is a special risk to public health or safety, such as the risk of cannabis being diverted to an illicit market or activity. Such determinations, however, can only be made once the review of an application is complete.

Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
February 25, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00566)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Gord Johns
Courtenay—Alberni
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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