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Canada’s construction industry prepares for marijuana legalization

By Danna O'Brien   

Construction Health & Safety marijuana

A lot has changed since recreational marijuana use was legalized in several US states. In Washington, fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana have doubled since legalization. In Colorado, there are now more dispensaries than there are Starbucks, McDonalds and 7-Elevens combined. Legalization in the US happened with breakneck speed and in just a few months, the Trudeau government will be introducing legislation to legalize marijuana here in Canada. So how does the construction industry prepare?

Once the legalization bill is passed, likely later this year or early 2018, Canada’s Health Minister Jane Philpott, says the provinces will need time to get ready with a regulatory process and public education. For companies with “safety sensitive” work environments, like Canada’s construction industry, that education is well underway.

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) has been holding a series of seminars to help its member companies stay ahead of the curve, by developing polices that raise awareness and address potential concerns around privacy and testing.

“In an industry where safety is paramount, we want to ensure companies have all the available information to make informed decisions about safety policies and programs that strike the right balance,” said Darrel Reid, VP, Policy and Advocacy at PCA.


As marijuana’s social acceptance and accessibility increase, so do concerns about its impact on workplace safety, especially given the potency of today’s marijuana. Research shows that it is not “your parent’s pot.” Not by a long shot. With average potency at about 20 per cent THC, that’s about three times the potency of 30 years ago.

“We have the advantage of drawing on the US experience and research, to develop safety programs that are in step with our changing legislation,” added Reid. “Legalization is coming quickly in Canada, and this is our opportunity to make sure the construction industry is ready for it.”

SOURCE Progressive Contractors Association of Canada


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