A new regulation by the Canadian aviation authorities is banning the use of cannabis by some aircrews. Under this rule, pilots, cabin crews and air traffic controllers cannot use any cannabis product for 28 days before they are scheduled for duty.
In 2018, marijuana was legalized in Canada, giving nearly open access to adults. However, Transport Canada had no official guidance on how it should apply to pilots and cabin crews. As a result, the organization “undertook extensive policy review” to understand how to keep the skies safe.
Canadian aircrews now have guidance on how long they must give up cannabis before going to work. CBC News reports Transport Canada is now requiring most aviation workers to be free of cannabis for 28 days before going on duty.
Effective immediately, most aviation employees will no longer be allowed to use cannabis starting 28 days from their on-duty date. This prohibition is in line with other sensitive employers, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of National Defense. The rules are extended to anyone working with active aircraft, including pilots, flight crews and air traffic controllers.
“The Canadian Air Regulations require fitness for duty and that no person shall act as a crew member of an aircraft, air traffic controller or flight service specialist while using or under the influence of any drug that impairs the person’s faculties,” the bulletin reads, according to CBC News. “The policy does not prevent Canada’s air operators from implementing more stringent prohibitions for their employees.”
Despite the new rules, Canada’s major aviators already have strict rules on cannabis among cabin crews. Global News reports both Air Canada and Westjet prohibit all cannabis use, including when off-duty, for safety-sensitive employees.
“Our policy reflects our reputation as an industry leader in safety,” the airline told Global News. “And our expectations that WestJetters report fit for duty and remain fit for duty at work.”
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