Are employers ready for Canada’s new marijuana laws?

When cannabis finally becomes legal in Canada, how do you prevent people from coming to work high?

The implications could be life threatening. What if they work in the airline industry or at a Nuclear Power Station? There are calls to have employees in safety critical roles subject to random drug tests, but as this report shows, the government doesn’t think it has to be in the law.

To guard against this, a coalition of employers and employer associations from across the country had urged the Canadian government to legislate alcohol and drug testing for safety-sensitive positions.

Employers have told the government that alcohol and drug use in workplaces is an existing concern and it will be elevated when cannabis is legalised. For example, adult usage of cannabis increased by 71 per cent after the drug was legalised in Colorado.

The few rules that do exist for dealing with this safety risk rely almost exclusively on case law interpretation, that is fact-specific, unclear and, at times, contradictory.

“We are seeking a legislated approach, as in other jurisdictions,” says the coalition. “Our members employ air traffic controllers, pilots, train conductors and crane operators, to name just a few. That no clear rules exist in this space, when the evidence demonstrates cannabis usage is going to increase, is a serious workplace and public safety concern.”

Our coalition calls on the government to implement a regulatory framework for alcohol and drug testing in safety-sensitive positions. This framework would establish clear rules throughout Canada aimed at preventing workplace alcohol and drug use.

For more information about drug testing in the workplace, please call 0800 988 7107 to speak to a Clinical Advisor.

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