Namely, according to the subsection 253(1) of the Criminal Code, seafarers 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 seafarers are using alcohol or drugs, or both.

Both employers and employees are responsible to prevent the risk of cannabis impairment at work.

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In addition, the Cannabis Act includes amendments to the Non-Smokers’ Health Act, prohibiting the smoking and vaping of cannabis in the workplace. On October 17, the same restrictions for tobacco and vaping will apply to cannabis. This will protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

What is more, under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA, 2001) and its regulations, seafarers:

  • Must work in a way that does not jeopardize the safety of the vessel or of any person on board;
  • Must report to the master any change that could affect your ability to work safely;
  • If they have reasonable grounds to believe that a person or vessel has contravened or intends to contravene an obligation in the CSA, 2001, they should notify Transport Canada.

Moreover, the Marine Personnel Regulations require most seafarers who work on board a Canadian vessel to receive a marine medical certificate issued by Transport Canada. These certificates prove that a seafarer is fit to work at sea. Thus, consumption of cannabis is a factor that marine medical examiners and Transport Canada will consider when issuing these certificates.

Continuing, according to Section 14 of the Safe Working Practices Regulations: 'no person shall be permitted in any working area whose ability to work is, in the opinion of the person in charge of the area, impaired by alcohol or a drug.'

'Working area' includes anywhere work is being done on board a ship. The regulations apply to anyone working on a ship in Canada, or on any Canadian ship outside of Canada.

Finally, carrying any cannabis or cannabis products (legal or illegal) across Canada's borders will still be a serious criminal offence, with individuals convicted of engaging in such activities liable for prosecution.

As Transport Canada informed, import and export of cannabis will still be illegal:

  • After cannabis is legalized in Canada;
  • When you travel to or return from places with legalized or decriminalized cannabis;
  • If the cannabis is for medical purposes.