Air Canada bans ‘safety-critical’ employees from cannabis use on and off duty

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Air Canada has changed its drug and alcohol policy to ban the recreational use of cannabis products for “safety-critical employees,” whether on or off duty.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority,” an Air Canada spokesperson told CTV News in an emailed statement.

The policy covers pilots, flight attendants, flight dispatchers, aircraft mechanic attendants, lead station attendants, and weight and balance agents.

“We are acting out of an abundance of caution based on current understanding of the effects of these drugs, including their after-effects and the potential they can linger in the human system,” Air Canada said.

Marianne Plamondon, a Montreal employment lawyer, told CTV Montreal that the policy raises questions about employee privacy.

For example, “an employee (on) vacation might be using cannabis but there’s no risk for the workplace when he comes back two weeks later,” she said.

WestJet and Porter Airlines told CTV Toronto they too plan to release revisions to their drug policies some time before legalization on Oct. 17.

With reports from CTV Montreal’s Matt Grillo and CTV Toronto’s Miranda Anthistle