Energy sector groups voice concerns over impending legalization of marijuana
Oil and gas safety advocates Enform are raising a red flag over the impending legalization of marijuana for recreational use. The group has sent an open letter to the federal government's Task Force on Marijuana Legalization outlining concerns that widespread marijuana consumption will undoubtedly make worksites unsafe.
The groups represents Canada's oil and gas producers, explorers, drillers, service contractors and pipeline operators. Enform's focus is on improving safety and sharing best practices across the energy sector.
The group points out that employers have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of its workers. But the laws are blurred as to how far employers can interfere into the personal lives of its employees.
A prime example is Suncor's ongoing battle with its Unifor 707A union over random drug testing. The union maintains that certain drugs and alcohol can remain in the employee's system several days after consumed. A positive result on a drug test does not necessarily mean the worker is impaired and infringes on the worker's privacy.
Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) president Mark Salkeld points out that it may soon be legal for workers to light up a joint during their coffee breaks. It is unclear if employers will be allowed to ban marijuana from their worksites or camps in the same way they ban alcohol.
Unlike alcohol, there is no breathalyzer test for marijuana that would show if someone is impaired. Law enforcement officials have expressed the same concern over impaired driving legislation, and how that would be enforced after the use of marijuana is legalized.
The federal Liberals promised to legalize marijuana for recreational use during the last federal election. Under current regulations, purchasing marijuana requires a "prescription", although the current laws around medicinal marijuana are fuzzy at best.