The legalisation of Marijuana in Canada could have “devastating consequences” on the safety of the nation’s oil and gas workers a lobby group has claimed.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize Cannabis during his 2015 campaign and the country is now taking steps to move forward with the proposals.
But Enform, a Calgary based oil and gas industry advocate, said that gaps in legislation, policies and regulations regarding workplace safety need to be fully addressed.
Cameron MacGillivray, Enform president and chief executive officer (CEO) said he is concerned with the impacts of marijuana on the safety of workers in safety sensitive work places.
He said: “At this point in time this legislation does not address the concerns that our industry has over the potential impact that legalized marijuana will have on workers and the safety of the public.
“There is a good deal to be done by all levels of government to ensure that when this legislation is enacted workers in safety-sensitive positions are not jeopardizing their safety or the safety of others.”
According to Enform, the industry’s biggest concerns is the research that needs to be done on impairment testing technologies.
Employers also are seeking guidance on acceptable practices when it comes to workers where impairment due to the use of recreational marijuana is suspected or detected, said MacGillivray.
He added: “Employers have a statutory obligation to guarantee a safe work environment for all employees and that has to be recognized through clear and balanced regulations.”
Enform is calling on all levels of governments to collaborate and harmonize labour and workplace legislation and regulation across the country.
The organisation said that until such time as there is a standard test to detect marijuana impairment with legal limits, there must be a prohibition on the use, storage and sale of marijuana from the workplace or close proximity.
MacGillivray said: “There is well-documented research to demonstrate cognitive impairments that can last for more than 24 hours and up to 20 days for chronic marijuana use.
“Marijuana use is incompatible with working in a safety-sensitive environment. Until there is clear evidence and a complete understanding of what level of impairment is deemed to be considered ‘safe’, a zero tolerance policy regarding the presence of marijuana is the only safe choice.
“The use of both alcohol and drugs by workers has been a pressing safety concern for industry.
“We have a responsibility to prevent workers who may be unfit for duty from engaging in activities that could have devastating consequences for themselves, their co-workers, the public or the environment.”