The importation (or exportation) of a narcotic involves bringing the drug into or out of Canada. Once an international border is crossed, the charge of importing comes into play. It is not necessary for the accused person to have physically brought the drug over the border him or herself. A person would be liable to an importing charge if they carried the drug over the border, if they were in possession of any container where the drug was located, if they had another person carry the drugs over the border, or if they were involved in the packing of drugs for transport or received or unloaded the drugs after the import.
The available sentences for importing drugs depends on the nature of the drug, the amount of the drug and the manner in which the importation took place, as set out in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Maximum sentences range from 3 years to life imprisonment. For certain drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin, minimum sentences of 1 or 2 years may also be mandated.