Metrolinx forbids workers in ‘safety sensitive’ positions from using cannabis

Metrolinx is banning employees who are in “safety sensitive” positions from using cannabis even when they are not working, according to a memo sent to employees on Friday.

In the memo from Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, employees are told of updates to the agency’s “fitness for duty” policy that will take effect on Feb. 1.

“[It] is my expectation that commencing on February 1, 2019 [a]ll employees who work in a safety sensitive position know that they are prohibited from using recreational cannabis and/or cannabis products whether they are on or off duty,” Verster said.

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Canada since October 17, 2018.

In a statement sent to Global News, a Metrolinx spokesperson said the “safety sensitive” label applies to 137 different positions and more could be added at any time.

It encompasses areas where employees play “a key and direct role in Metrolinx’s operations and where performance impacted by alcohol and drugs or extreme fatigue could result in … failure to adequately respond to a significant incident,” the spokesperson said.

The fit for duty policy does not allow for random drug testing of employees, like the controversial policy that the TTC introduced about two years ago.

The Metrolinx policy does, however, allow for drug testing when there is reasonable cause to believe an employee is unfit for duty, or if there was a significant incident.

The policy says that a violation could result in discipline and even termination.

“Every employee of Metrolinx has a responsibility to safeguard the trust and safety of the public by ensuring compliance with the policy,” Verster said in a statement.

Global News reached out to the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents Metrolinx employees, for comment.

They did not respond by the time of publication.

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