When cannabis finally becomes legal in Canada, how do you prevent people from coming to work high? What if they’re a pilot or nuclear plant worker? There are calls to have these types of employees 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 federal 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 that will be elevated when cannabis is legalised (for example, adult usage increased by 71 per cent after cannabis was legalized in Colorado). What few rules do exist for dealing with this clear 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. Government could do this in consultation with all key stakeholders to ensure all voices are heard on this important topic.