RCMP workplace Substance Use Policy

The RCMP's Substance Use Policy takes effect on October 17, 2018. All RCMP employees must be fit for duty when reporting for work, which includes not being impaired by alcohol or drugs. The policy reflects the duty of care the RCMP has for its members and the communities it serves.

RCMP safety-sensitive positions

A safety-sensitive position is a position in which the employee has a role in an RCMP operation or an operational support role where impairment could result in:

  • a serious accident, injury, fatality or incident affecting the health and/or safety of employees, the public, or the work environment
  • poor decision making, which could lead to an inadequate response and/or failure to respond to an emergency situation

Employees in safety-sensitive positions must refrain from using non-medicinal cannabis 28 days prior to reporting to work. All RCMP regular members (police officers) who are deemed operational are considered being in a safety-sensitive position.

Why treat cannabis differently from alcohol

The RCMP based its policy on the current scientific information on the impairing effects of cannabis, including information from the Government of Canada. Science shows that cannabis can intoxicate beyond initial consumption and that there are no established safe limits or data on how it affects performance. Without established scientific information about cannabis impairment, the RCMP policy is taking a careful approach at this time, to ensure workplace and public safety is maintained at all times. RCMP employees will not be subject to random substance testing.

RCMP's unique operational context

The RCMP reviewed all aspects of its operations as to make this policy decision. RCMP members work across Canada in a unique operating environment, as first responders, in rural and remote communities, and can be called back for duty at any time. The RCMP focuses on the safety of its 18,000 police officers and that of the public in the 700 communities it serves. The RCMP has an average of 2.7 million calls for service from the public annually.

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