I would like to start by thanking the organizing committee for this year’s annual Symposium in Victoria, B.C. It was a great event made even better by those who attended and used the opportunities to share ideas with one another. We look forward to seeing you next September when the Symposium will be held in Port Credit, just west of Toronto.
We also look forward to seeing many of you at the CASBAS on Sunday January 20. 2019, at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto.
I will now talk about how the new regulations regarding the possession and use of cannabis will affect the operation of vessels in Canada.
I have taken the liberty to quote the following information received from Transport Canada:
Since October 17, 2018, the
Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) has legalized, regulated and restricted access to cannabis. This Act is a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale, possession and use of cannabis in Canada.
The new legislation will allow adults to possess and use small amounts of cannabis. This will no longer be a criminal offence in Canada.
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Bill C-46) will set out 3 new drug-impaired driving offences. The 3 offences are for having specified levels of a drug within 2 hours of driving.
Under Bill C-46, it will be illegal to drive and operate a vessel while having:
- a THC level between 2 and 5 nanograms (ng)
- a level above 5 ng
- a blood alcohol concentration of 50 mg per 100 mL of blood, in addition to a THC level of more than 2.5 ng
Please note: current impaired-based drug driving offences will continue to apply.
What you need to know
Being impaired by any drug or alcohol while carrying out your work duties can affect your ability to perform. Impairment could negatively impact your watch-keeping duties and other duties related to safety. This, in turn, could have a negative impact on the overall safety of navigation and in marine transportation, including the safety of the public and marine personnel.
Cannabis impairs your ability to:
- make decisions
- follow instructions
- handle equipment and tools
- safely operate a vehicle.
Operating a vehicle, which includes a vessel, while impaired by cannabis risks property and people’s lives. It could come with severe consequences for you, your colleagues and your job status.
Under subsection 253(1) of the
Criminal Code, you may not operate, assist in the operation of, or have the care or control of a vessel while impaired. This applies whether or not the vessel is moving. It also applies whether you are using alcohol or drugs, or both.
In closing, a reminder that a safe boater is a happy boater, and fun is what our boating experiences should all be about!