By Keith Kilback, Q.C.
Cross Border Operations
Drivers who cross the border into the United States face additional risks. While the possession of recreational amounts of cannabis is legal in Canada, the possession, importation, and exportation of both medical and recreational cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal law. As such, crossing the international border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry with cannabis may result in seizure, fines, or arrest, and may impact admissibility to the country.
A travel advisory on the Government of Canada website www.travel.gc.ca states that “Previous use of cannabis, or any substance prohibited by U.S. federal laws, could mean that you are denied entry to the U.S.”. Employees who need to cross the border for business purposes should be aware that admitting to recreational cannabis use could result in denial of entry.
For trucking companies with cross border operations, it is important to have clear policies which prohibit the presence of cannabis in company vehicles and the personal possession of cannabis while on duty in order to avoid these consequences.
Safety Sensitive Positions
Truck drivers are in a safety sensitive position, and driving while under the influence of cannabis is an offence under the Criminal Code. For this reason, it is critical to have a written policy for those in safety sensitive positions that prohibits impairment while on duty, and provides for progressive discipline for contravening the policy. To ensure workplace safety, supervisors should be aware of the signs of cannabis impairment, and the policy should set out procedures for responding to a situation where impairment is suspected.
The information in this article is provided for general interest only, and should not be relied upon as legal advice applicable to a particular person or situation. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this article with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.
Keith Kilback, Q.C.
Kanuka Thuringer LLP