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Contractor association warned governments about legalizing pot and here come the consequences

What happened Wednesday, with the shutdown of Toronto’s $5.3-billion Crosstown LRT project because of workers smoking weed, may be just be the beginning


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April 13, 2018 by Steve Payne

Whatever you personally believe about Ottawa’s legalization of marijuana, there is little doubt that our industry has a massive problem on its hands. So do all industries in which machinery, misjudged and mishandled, can kill.

Workers smoking pot during their work hours – in the same way that they smoke cigarettes on breaks – have always existed. But the problem is, governments across Canada have sent a clear signal to society: Smoking weed is harmless and it’s your right to get high, whenever you want.

Although weed is not yet legal, there is lots of anecdotal evidence about workers becoming more cavalier about toking on the job.

Just this week, the $5.3-billion Crosstown LRT construction project in Toronto was shut down for the day after three workers were found smoking pot. Again, pot has been smoked on construction sites for decades. But it has never been necessary to warn workers that this is illegal and stupid from a safety point of view. Now it is necessary.

The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) saw all of this coming last July when it told an Ontario government hearing that our industry has a “significant problem” with drugs and alcohol.

The OGCA told the assembled politicians that legalization of pot would lead to a “significant increase in usage (of pot), leading to a spike in workplace injuries and fatalities.”

And what has Ottawa done – or any province for that matter – to make sure there are accurate and efficient methods of testing employees, on the spot, for marijuana consumption, if they are operating machinery that can kill?

Absolutely nothing. The votes were already counted and now the money is going to roll in.

Wonder who’s going to be Canada’s first legal-pot-related construction death? And how old they will be?


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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13 Comments » for Contractor association warned governments about legalizing pot and here come the consequences
  1. Joe says:

    I think we should put Justin, Kathleen and the rest of their members on a work site as labourers, and have the machine operators stoned.
    Or better yet have them run a jobsite, with time and financial responsibility, with stoned workers working for them.
    They would change the laws the same day.

  2. Lee Tokar says:

    Reminds me of the blessing and curse that cell phones brought to the job site (effectively) paying a premium hourly rate for sub-contractors, cutting into job productivity. And I’m thinking back a decade or two. Now with Facebook, etc., it’s worse than ever.

  3. peter de jonge says:

    The Liberals legalizing marijuana is the height of stupidity but they haven’t done anything smart.

  4. Marten says:

    Questions are many, how long does a person stay impaired? What about the use of “medical pot” Who judges if someone is impaired? If I kick someone off the job and they walk into traffic and get hurt am I responsible? I think it is that way now with a drinking person. How do other countries that have legal weed handle this?

  5. Bob Simpson says:

    I’m in full agreement with the Contractors Association, it is a terrible thing to do, legalizing pot. This will also be a problem in schools, universities and many work places. Smoking was very difficult to prevent in schools when I was there in the late 60’s and 70’s. I don’t want to go places and smell the terrible odor. We just won’t go to those locations for meals, entertainment, etc.

  6. Neil says:

    Hey Steve, glad to see this you tackling this wrestle between “legal” and right.
    I had a locksmith show up stinking of pot, his work was beyond sloppy and he blamed everything under the sun for the reasons why. It was like dealing with an unmotivated 30 yr old pre-teen. There’s no doubt in my mind his addiction was robbing him of clarity and ultimately will destroy his reputation and business in the not to distant future.

  7. Tyler says:

    mandate drug testing, if there is ever a near miss or accident, pre-screen, and random without notice.

  8. Ray says:

    I find it hard to believe weed would make a jobsite more dangerous. I do not think it would increase the probability of a worker falling off a ladder. It will definitely cause the worker to forget why they climbed up the ladder, and then when they get down they will remember and they will climb back up, over and over, because their memory is shot. I do not think it would increase the chance of a worker getting drove over by a tractor. But the worker on the tractor may drive back and forth because their mind is a complete fog, but not a fog that makes them unaware of their surroundings, not a fog that makes them want to put their hand in an auger. Legalizing weed will reduce production, I buy that without a doubt. Some bosses who do not understand how weed affects short term memory, may not implement a strict anti-weed policy, and within these companies production may decrease, but danger will not increase. If there was an argument to even be made that it increases danger, it would be because if a job takes 6 hours high instead of 4 hours, then the workers are on the job for 1.5 times the amount of hours, and taking more steps, so more opportunities for trip and fall accidents – sure – there is your only valid argument for increased danger.

  9. Chris says:

    Ontario college of trades always seem to go after the wrong people..always coming on sites of established contractors and never ever going after the guys working out of their trunks..somethings wrong

  10. joe says:

    Hi Chris, you mean Ontario College of Rides ? That’s what they do all day, rid their cars allover Ontario on our hard working money. Been financed by our tax dollars and collect on the lease of the trades people licenses. Making their own piece of junk paper called a license and demanding payment, el-caponee mafia.

    Typical from the Liberals, created all source of third party collection agencies, reminds the Nazis on the forties.

    The problem with pot on construction sites, yeah in deed will impaired a lot of people and will lead to more construction accidents. But if anyone thinks a bit, how many companies are been fined for construction accidents, to many already. The Liber-hells found a gold mine on these matters, so the more accidents more money the apparently they will make. Maybe not so fast if Doug Ford will win the next election and wake the hell up for these issues. Maybe changes may have to take place, in the pot laws, WSIB, College of thieves, ESA/ECRA and all others Nazy style operation should be eliminated.

    The people of Ontario never smell what real democracy looks like, and real freedom is, to operate as a trades people or as a free human being. What we have here is a sick and toxic mandatory system calling them selves democrats. Its wolfs dressing as sheep, demanding everything for themselves and their cronies, the democratic propaganda machine.

    Pot also is already creating a lot of problems in factory workers too ; supervisors stoned, health and safety handles, on the improper machine operators training, and when things go wrong with machine or production, workers etc. Stoned supervisors to cover for their negligence work responsibility under the Ontario health safety act, fire works for no reason, this can be consider as crime. This toxic abuse is going on across Ontario in many work force plants in special in none union places. The disaster already start, who will contained, that’s the million dollars question?

  11. questo says:

    http://pressprogress.ca/conservative_lobbyist_who_pushed_to_abolish_ontario_college_of_trades_named_to_college_governing_board/

    Is this guy on pot or what? shame on you jackass.

    This black sheep photo should be posted at every corner in Toronto city also in construction sites too. This disgrace-full looking alike as human, is nothing but a traitor to the trades people. Indeed the electrical L still another garbage bag operation. At one time they keep calling me many times a week, to sale their books good for nothing, what a jack ass, shame on you, disgrace full punck.

  12. Scott says:

    I felt obligated to comment on this after I read the 2 ridiculous responses that were published in the most recent issue from Neil and Joe.

    There is an assumption being made that legalizing will increase the use overall or somehow make it acceptable to use at work or while driving.

    First of all millions of people are already using cannabis, there is not expected to be a huge increase in new users. It just keeps current users on the right side of the law. Secondly there is also an assumption being made that there will be an increase of impairment while working. Just like alcohol there will be laws against impairment, you won’t be able to use whenever or wherever you feel like it and people that choose to will find themselves jobless just like you would if you showed up drunk to work.

    Most of the comments on this subject appear to be from people that are clearly against legalization in general (but who probably go for a couple beers after work) and who are sadly misinformed on the subject in general.

    Will there be cannabis use on jobsites? Yes, but there is now and always has been, just as there is drinking or other impairment. Legalization will likely not change any of this. Just the fact that you old school thinkers will have to adapt to the new laws that WILL take affect this summer.

  13. You couldn’t be more wrong about Pot.
    It’s a performance enhancer… Check with PotHeads they know.

    When growing Pot is legal:
    Towns and Cities will be vying for the “Pot Hall of Fame Fest” for the provinces and territories and country…Just like the Amazon HQ2 frenzy… but longer lasting and more important.
    During the Fest; They will have to offer “Home Free Zones” just like the duty-free for liquor These Home Free zones will have: No cops, No taxes, lots of PotHeads exchanging and buying FREELY

    Let the nominations begin.
    I nominate Osoyoos BC for the provincial
    If I get elected as Mayor there will be a Home Free Zone.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwFvH4Za_B4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3QHDCKKFcU