The Province of Ontario has begun consultation sessions on the legalization of marijuana. The province is asking stakeholders to provide it with input on how the introduction of marijuana could impact their sector and how government could develop a responsible policy approach focused on protecting youth, strengthening public health and road safety, and promoting prevention and harm reduction.
“Historically drug and alcohol use among commercial drivers has not been a safety issue in the Province of Ontario, and the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), wants to keep it that way,” said OTA’s Jonathan Blackham. “Operating commercial vehicles comes with an added responsibility and strong commitment to road safety. Ontario needs to make sure that all vehicle operators understand that operating a motorized vehicle under the influence of marijuana will carry strong consequences,” added Blackham.
Statistics show operators of large commercial vehicles are much less likely to be impaired by alcohol or drugs than all other motorists.
OTA supports the Canadian Trucking Alliance position that the trucking industry, regardless of the legal status of marijuana, should be held to a zero-tolerance policy for being under the influence of marijuana while at work.
OTA will also be working with the province of on comprehensive workplace testing policies, a review of the duty to accommodate, and the benefits/impediments to establishing differing sobriety levels for commercial drivers and passenger vehicles, similar to those policies currently deployed for safety sensitive positions.
On a related note, to assist the industry with human resource issues related to the legalization of marijuana, CTA funded a report by Trucking HR Canada. This report is available for all OTA members by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting a copy.