Looming marijuana legalization concerns oil and gas safety watchdog

The group responsible for safety in the oil-and-gas industry is reiterating its concerns about the impact of legal marijuana in Canada.

Cameron MacGillivray, president of Calgary-based Enform, says while the bill to legalize pot unveiled last week addresses the issue of impaired driving, there is still work to be done to fill legislative gaps regarding workplace safety.

"At this point in time this legislation does not address the concerns that our industry has over the potential impact that legalized marijuana will have on workers and the safety of the public," said MacGillivray in a release.

Last fall, Enform made a submission to the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization, Regulation and Restriction, the group that helped lay the groundwork for the legalization plan.

Enform still contends marijuana use is incompatible with working in safety-sensitive environments such upstream oil--and-gas drilling operations.

'Zero tolerance'

"Until there is clear evidence and a complete understanding of what level of impairment is deemed to be considered 'safe', a zero-tolerance policy regarding the presence of marijuana is the only safe choice," said MacGillivray.

"We have a responsibility to prevent workers who may be unfit for duty from engaging in activities that could have devastating consequences for themselves, their co-workers, the public or the environment."

Enform says all levels of government should work together to harmonize their regulations and, until there is a standard test to detect marijuana impairment within legal limits, maintain a national ban on the use and sale of marijuana at or near the workplace.

Employment Minister Patty Hajdu has said the federal government is working with the provinces on a framework that will address substance abuse at work.

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