Report on the Illicit Drug Situation in Canada - 2008
The Report on the Illicit Drug Situation in Canada — 2008 is an overview of illicit drug production, trafficking, and smuggling activity involving Canada, during the calendar year. This year’s report includes a new section which provides additional information on specific enforcement programs geared towards reducing the demand for illicit drugs.
The Report on the Illicit Drug Situation in Canada — 2008 includes information provided by the RCMP. In order to acquire this information, analysts used the following sources:
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
While a variety of law enforcement agencies make drug seizures within the borders of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is the only Canadian agency responsible for the monitoring of all Canadian ports of entry, and for the examination of all incoming (and outgoing) international mail at Canada’s three mail processing centres. As a result, CBSA is the first enforcement agency to intercept shipments of illegal drugs entering (or exiting) Canada. Following the discovery and examination of such shipments, CBSA contacts the RCMP and transfers custody of the seized drugs to the RCMP for follow-up investigation. When collecting data for the annual Drug Situation Report, RCMP analysts cross-reference CBSA seizure data with data from various RCMP databases and information sources, allowing for a more complete and robust analysis. The “Major Seizures” sections in this report have, in particular, drawn upon seizure information shared by CBSA.
The quantitative data provides an easily measureable benchmark for a comparative analysis of the drug situation from year to year. However, the data limitations require the analysts to look beyond the raw data, draw upon their own observations of trends or related domestic and international events, in order to form judgments and provide the contextual analysis which adds value and meaning to the numbers. Where data is irreconcilable with the operational picture that emerges from reports from the field, intelligence analysts must examine these gaps and assess whether the data is flawed, whether information required to complete the picture is missing, or whether they have to use their experience and knowledge to provide the full context.
Despite data limitations that are endemic to any national policing organization, the RCMP’s Report on the Illicit Drug Situation in Canada — 2008 strives to represent the most complete national picture that is currently available. The Criminal Intelligence Program continues to work with its partners to develop new collection methods that will improve the quality and reliability of drug seizure data in Canada. The 2008 seizure data reported in this document were approved by the RCMP and Health Canada as part of Canada’s annual submission to the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime.
In terms of specific types of data limitations experienced by the RCMP and its partner agencies, the following factors must be considered when examining the data sets available for this report:
Without a single, comprehensive, cross-jurisdictional database for the collection of drug seizure information from all law enforcement (including customs) agencies in Canada, these data limitations will continue to affect the ability of the RCMP to accurately describe and report on the national drug situation in Canada.