Toronto police say they will ban its officers from consuming cannabis within 28 days of reporting for duty when legalization comes into effect on Oct. 17.
Meaghan Gray, a spokesperson for the service, said a new fitness for duty procedure was created after discussions with other police organizations across the country.
“The procedure clearly prohibits all members of the service from using recreational cannabis while on duty and, based on our research, the procedure prohibits all members of the service from using recreational cannabis within 28 days of reporting for duty,” she said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon.
“We have not come to this decision lightly. It was made thoughtfully and based on sound advice and evidence, considering the critical role members play in ensuring a safe workplace and a safe community. We will continue to research and explore this procedure.”
The Toronto Police Association said in a statement to Global News that the union is aware of a draft policy on the use of cannabis by its members, but it has not seen or had an opportunity to review its content.
“We are aware the draft policy may contain a 28-day waiting period before a member can report for duty after consuming cannabis,” TPA President Mike McCormack said.
“Once the TPA receives an official version of the policy dealing with this topic we will perform a legal analysis of its content for compliance with our collective agreements, legislation, human rights, case law, etc. and make a decision about any further action we may take at that point in time.”
The decision by Toronto police comes after the RCMP said it will also ban its members from consuming cannabis within 28 days of being on shift.
The Calgary Police Service has the strictest policy when it was announced two weeks ago that officers cannot use cannabis while off-duty.
In August, the Vancouver Police Board recommended that its members refrain from smoking recreational cannabis 24 hours prior to duty. The Vancouver Police Department later rejected that recommendation, instead deciding on a fit-for-duty policy.
Meanwhile, many other police enforcement agencies across the country are finalizing its rules on cannabis.
— With files from Nick Westoll