Cannabis compliance and enforcement report coming in January

| David Brown

More than 400 inspections in the last 2 years.

Health Canada intends to publish its Compliance and Enforcement Report: Cannabis Inspection Data Summary for the fiscal year 2019-2020 in January 2022.

A media relations advisor with the federal agency’s Communications and Public Affairs branch confirmed that the cannabis inspection report for the fiscal year 2020-2021 will be published “in the coming months”. The report will include results for cannabis inspections conducted between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020.

The federal regulator says the reports have been delayed due to the pandemic and intends to move to more current updates again in the new year.

In December 2020, Health Canada released their Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement Report and Inspection Data Summary for cannabis inspections conducted between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. This newest report will bring the data up-to-date through March 2020.

Prior to that, the previous annual report was for the fiscal year 2017-2018, provided in May 2019. Previous reports include inspection data for 2016-2017 and 2015-2016

Given the increasingly large number of federally licensed cannabis businesses such as cultivators, processors, and analytical labs, Health Canada says they take a risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement activities. This includes responding to complaints received as well as conducting inspections.

In the early days of the previous medical-only system in Canada, when there were only a small handful of producers, an individual facility might have seen inspectors several times a year. As the number of licences has grown, especially since October 17, 2018, the number of times a facility will be inspected has in some cases dropped to less than one a year.

Inspections can be on-site, virtual, or a mixture of both. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Canada had temporarily moved to mostly virtual inspections since early 2020. As restrictions around the country have loosened in recent months, more in-person inspections have again resumed, at least for the time being.

In response to a media request from StratCann, Health Canada reports there were 110 on-site inspections and 325 virtual inspections conducted between January 1, 2020 and November 30, 2021. During this time period, the number of federal production licence holders (cultivators, processors, and nurseries) grew from around 250 to nearly 800. 

Comparatively, a total of 293 inspections were conducted from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, at a time when the number of licences grew from around 80 to 140. (Numbers are approximate as several licences over time have been revoked or otherwise removed).

Inspections can be less than a day or take place over the course of several days. More updates when the full report is released.

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