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Use of new cannabis breathalyzer could break labour laws

September 26, 2019
office setting
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Last week, Vancouver-based company Cannabix announced it had entered into an exclusive license to use “THC Breath Analyzer” technology developed by the University of British Columbia in a line of low cost, portable THC breath analyzers the company describes as “ideally suited for workplace, parental, and personal use testing.”

Cannabis human resources expert Erin Gratton quickly responded to the news.

“To market this product to employers in this fashion is dangerous. It puts Canadians workplace rights and protections at risk.”

She followed up by noting the company attempted to stoke fear to encourage sales, noting Cannabix’s co-president says in a promotional video that “‘use of marijuana is as high as alcohol in our society.’ This simply is not true. We need a reliable test at work, however, fear is not necessary to market it.”

Canadian employers may generally only subject workers to drug testing within safety-sensitive workplaces.

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, “Because of the potential to intrude on people’s privacy, drug and alcohol testing can only be justified in very narrow circumstances—where there are health and safety concerns in dangerous work environments in which people are doing safety-sensitive work.

“Drug and alcohol testing that has no demonstrated relationship to job safety and performance, or where there has been no evidence of enhanced safety risks in the workplace, has been found to violate employees’ rights.

Jesse B. Staniforth's Bio Image

Jesse B. Staniforth

Jesse B. Staniforth is the editor of the free cannabis-industry
newsletter WeedWeek Canada. He also reports on Indigenous issues,
cybersecurity, and food safety.

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