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New Ontario law regarding pot use by drivers

from OMCA

The Provincial Government recently announced that it will be introducing road safety legislation in advance of the legalization of cannabis products next July. The new legislation will specifically address the issue of commercial drivers.

According to the province, there will be a "zero tolerance" policy for commercial drivers when it comes to detecting alcohol or drugs in their system. The federal government is in the process of establishing screening devices with appropriate thresholds for detecting the presence of drug use, but once approved by the federal law, any commercial driver found to have used cannabis will be subject to the following penalties:

For all occurrences, the driver's licence will be suspended for 3 days, plus the following monetary penalties: $250 for the first occurrence, $350 for the second occurrence, and $450 for the third and subsequent occurrences. Other penalties, such as mandatory education or treatment programs, may also apply for repeat offenders.

This means employers will have more ability to insist that their drivers not use cannabis products as a condition of employment. While it may be legal in the general public, it will be clearly illegal to have any drugs in your system, regardless of any arguments about actual impairment, under the proposed provincial law.

As with many things related to the issue of cannabis legalization, there will continue to be unanswered questions and policy will evolve (e.g. will a driver's pot conviction impact CVOR, if so, how?) but in general this announcement strengthens the hand of employers in telling drivers they cannot use, and as such is likely good news. more

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