Toronto Police Union says NO to new pot policy

The Toronto Police Association has sent a memo to members, reacting to the new rules surrounding marijuana usage for officers.

That memo contains a simple message: we will not be endorsing this draft policy.

This week, Toronto Policy Chief Mark Saunders said there would be a 28-day period before shift, when officers would not be allowed to use marijuana, even after it is legal.

In the memo, the union says there is "no correlation to impairment, in having a 28-day waiting period."

The union says the police service, rather than relying on what they call arbitrary timelines, should fall back on the tried and true "fit for duty" threshold.

The Toronto Police Union will consult with their lawyers to determine the next course of action.

The TPA will be meeting with the Service to review the content of the draft policy, and to discuss our concern with the 28-day waiting period before a member can report for duty after consuming cannabis. We do not support this draft policy.

 

It is our position that the 28-day waiting period is ill-contrived, arbitrary and cannot be enforced. The police service’s logic would suggest that the 28-day waiting period apply to other occupations including all first responders, emergency and medical staff, and anyone driving any type of motor vehicle or operating heavy machinery. It also does not address the issue around exposure to second hand cannabis smoke. There is no correlation to impairment in having a 28-day waiting period.

 

Both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Police Services Act provide adequate governance outlining a member’s requirement to report “fit for duty”. It is irrelevant why a member may be unfit. What is relevant, is whether or not the member meets the threshold of fit for duty when reporting to work.

 

The health, wellness, and safety of our members is a priority for the Association. If any of our members choose to use cannabis once it's legalized, like any other legal substances that all Canadians can legally consume, the same fit for duty criteria should apply. Police officers, Civilians, and Special Constables are aware of their obligations in the workplace, and our expectation is that our members will continue to be professional when reporting for duty.

 

After meeting with the Service and having an opportunity to review the final version of the policy, the TPA will continue with our legal analysis of the policy’s content for compliance with our collective agreements, legislation, human rights and case law to determine our next course of action.