As it engages in consultations with the provincial government, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is supporting the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) position that the trucking industry should be held to a zero-tolerance policy for being under the influence of marijuana.
The Government of Ontario is seeking feedback from groups on how to develop a responsible policy regarding the drug, due to be made legal in Canada next year. The consultations are focusing on protecting youth, strengthening public health, and road safety.
OTA president Jonathan Blackham says drug and alcohol use among commercial drivers in Ontario has not historically been a problem.
“Operating commercial vehicles comes with an added responsibility and strong commitment to road safety,” said Blackham. “Ontario needs to make sure that all vehicle operators understand that operating a motorized vehicle under the influence of marijuana will carry strong consequences.”
The group reports that statistically operators of large commercial vehicles are much less likely to be impaired by alcohol or drugs than all other motorists.
The OTA will also be working with the province on creating workplace testing policies, including a review of the responsibility of employers to accommodate those with addiction issues. They are also discussing establishing sobriety levels for commercial drivers and passenger vehicles, similar to those policies currently deployed for safety sensitive positions.