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RAC appears before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on Bill C-46

Railway Association of Canada (RAC) Acting President Gérald Gauthier today voiced the rail industry’s concerns about the impact of legalized recreational marijuana on workplace safety to senators as they consider Bill C-46, which aims to prevent drug- and alcohol-impaired driving.

Appearing before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Mr. Gauthier said that the legalization of recreational marijuana will further normalize its consumption and, as a result, could increase at-risk behaviour in the workplace. Working under the influence poses a danger to everyone in the workplace, especially in safety-sensitive industries where impairment can increase the risks of serious injury and death, he said.

“We must protect our critical transportation networks,” said Gauthier. “Public safety, employee safety, and the safety of our communities and environment depend upon it. That is why we are here today requesting that measures aimed at proactively securing Canada’s transportation infrastructure from increased risk of impairment be put in place to accompany marijuana legislation.”

Canada’s railways and other transportation industries have called on the federal government to prioritize workplace safety as it aims to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018. The government has taken encouraging steps to address the implications of legal recreational marijuana, such as studying technologies to measure cannabis impairment, but there is more work to do to ensure workplaces remain safe. RAC has created a factsheet summarizing the rail industry’s concerns and what Canada should do before recreational marijuana becomes legal.

Canada’s railways operate around the clock, year-round on a network that spans more than 42,000 kilometres and includes approximately 30,000 crossings. The rail industry in Canada employs approximately 30,000 people, many of whom hold safety-critical positions. This includes employees who operate trains or work in rail traffic control centres.

Click here to download Gérald Gauthier’s full remarks.

Click here to download RAC’s submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.




About the Railway Association of Canada

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) represents more than 50 freight and passenger railway companies that move more than 84 million passengers and $280 billion worth of goods in Canada each year. The RAC advocates on behalf of its members and associate members to ensure that the rail sector remains globally competitive, sustainable and, most importantly, safe. Learn more at railcandev.wpengine.com. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.