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article imageTrudeau government says mandatory drug testing possible

By Karen Graham     Jun 2, 2018 in World
The legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis consumption in Canada is in the Senate for a planned final vote on or before June 7. With just five days remaining before the vote, the federal government is thinking about mandatory drug-testing.
When the federal government first revealed what marijuana legalization would look like, they proposed two laws that would be needed to police the drug's use. One rule, C-45, would govern the sale and distribution of the drug itself - and the other rule, C-46, would help the police to better address impaired driving.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has said that both pieces of legislation were part and parcel of C -45, the government's cannabis legalization bill. However, now, with the vote coming this next week, it seems as though only C-45 will be voted on.
Actually, the government introduced C-45 and C-46, on impaired driving, at the same time last year. The Liberals have said repeatedly said that they want both bills to pass before pot actually becomes legal since C-46 contains new penalties for impaired driving.
So you can see how the two bills are somewhat similar. But while the Senate has agreed to vote on the third reading of Bill C-45, which sets up a framework to legalize recreational weed, on or before June 7, there is still the possibility it could be delayed, reports the National Post.
The new marijuana breathalyzer will have a similar look and use to the ones we already have.
The new marijuana breathalyzer will have a similar look and use to the ones we already have.
West Midlands Police via Wikimedia
Powers to the police unconstitutional
In its original form, the bill gave the police the power to conduct roadside breathalyzer tests for impaired driving. However, Liberal chair of the Senate’s legal committee, Senator Serge Joyal argued the tests were unconstitutional.
Well, just last week, Conservative Sen. Denise Batters proposed an amendment that would chop the powers out of the bill, and with Joyal’s support, it passed in committee. So far, with the vote coming just five days away, there have been 40 amendments added to the original bill - with 36 coming from independent senators.
So, in addition to amendments that should have been addressed in the regulations that will accompany the legislation - which by the way, have yet to be published, it all boils down to most conservative senators saying the government should have a more prohibitive bill that would protect all Canadians.
An American childcare development center.
An American childcare development center.
irman 1st Class Hunter Brady
Mandatory drug testing in selected workplaces
MP Bill Blair told CBC Radio's The House on Thursday that people in safety-sensitive jobs — like pilots — could be subjected to mandatory testing in the future.
"We examined very closely what we could do as far as testing when there was a bona fide safety requirement," he told host Chris Hall. "In those very limited circumstances, it's possible."
As this writer has noted before, Canada, at the federal level has no workplace rules on drug and alcohol testing, outside the military. And while there is a broad division on the subject between labor groups, employers, and provincial government officials on whether there should be federal rules, in most cases, at least since the 1980s, the subject has been avoided.
Blair cited the privacy and constitutional complications with random testing that had come up when bill C-46 was being debated. But he said Bill C-46 now contains new offenses for different levels of drug impairment. This gives the police authority to use roadside saliva tests to see if a driver is impaired.
But it will be interesting to see what the government determines are "selected occupations" requiring mandatory drug testing. Blair mentioned airline pilots, but what about bus drivers, hospital workers, teachers and child care workers?
A Sunwings pilot was arrested after found apparently drunk before takeoff.
A Sunwings pilot was arrested after found apparently drunk before takeoff.
Eddie Maloney via Wikimedia
"It's been proven to work," said Derrick Hynes, president of the Federally Regulated Employers Transportation and Communications. "It results in a change in behavior, which is precisely what you're looking for. You're not looking for a punitive measure."
Just last week, League, a health tech company, in collaboration with MedReleaf, one of Canada's largest medical cannabis producers, announced they had come up with an online toolkit for employers to assist them in forming company substance management policies.
And League is very clear on having a "zero-tolerance" policy in the workplace, as well as the need for a written policy on the consequences and disciplinary action required if a company's substance management policies are broken.
My take on Mr. Blair's pronouncement? The federal government really needs to get on the ball and get some sort of national policy regarding driving or working while drug impaired.
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