According to a new policy which has just been made public by Transport Canada (the federal transport regulator), flight crews as well as other industry employees will no longer be allowed to use marijuana within 28 days before they are due to fly.
The policy, which was announced on Thursday (June 6), takes immediate effect and it affects cabin crew, pilots and air traffic controllers. This policy was released in order to clarify the position of the regulator when recreational marijuana was legalized on October 17 last year.
Transport Canada asserted that aviation industry employees are required to maintain a certain minimum “level of fitness for duty” during the time when they are at work. Those employees must therefore refrain from using or being under the influence of any substance which can impair their faculties to a degree that can compromise aviation safety, the regulator added. Transport Canada also affirmed that their policy decision was informed by the current science available on the matter.
The announcement by Transport Canada isn’t altogether new in the Canadian aviation industry. The policy announcement comes after commercial airlines in the country, such as Westjet and Air Canada, had already issued blanket bans to their staff regardless of whether the employees wanted to consume recreational marijuana when they are off duty.
Speaking about Westjet’s radical policy on marijuana, the airline’s spokesperson said that the policy reflects the airline’s position as a leader in aviation safety, and that was why they were requiring Westjetters to report for duty while fit and stay that way throughout their shift.
Transport Canada has chosen to take the path similar to what the Department of National Defence decided to take on recreational marijuana. The military rules were updated to state that any serving military officer who wishes to use recreational marijuana should not do so within eight hours of starting their shift on duty.
The military rules also state that any personnel who operate weapons or vehicles aren’t allowed to consume recreational pot 24-hours before reporting for duty. Those that engage in high-altitude parachuting and those who serve on military aircraft are banned from using recreational cannabis in the 28 days prior to reporting for duty.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also announced earlier that any of its personnel who serve in “safety-sensitive positions” are prohibited from using cannabis 28 days prior to reporting for duty.
It would be interesting to know what companies like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTCQB: NUGS) think about these policies announced by aviation companies and regulators.
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