Canada Cracks Down On Pilot Cannabis Regulations


Transport Canada is cracking down on pilots and crew with stricter cannabis regulations. The new rules are to prevent airline employees from smoking or consuming cannabis 28 days before flying.

No cannabis use for 28 days

According to new Transport Canada rules published by CBC News, members of Canada’s aviation industry will not be allowed to partake in cannabis use for at least 28 days prior to starting work.

Pilots and flight crew cannot consume cannabis 28 days prior to work. Photo: Air Canada.

In order to comply with the new Canadian Aviation Regulations, pilots, cabin crew, and air traffic controllers must be fit in order to carry out their jobs. This means that they cannot be under the influence of any drug or substance that affects their job performance, which could lead to a negative effect on aviation safety.

According to CBC News a statement on Transport Canada’s website, says,

“It is illegal to pilot an aircraft while under the influence of cannabis. Cannabis can impair a person’s capacity to pilot any type of aircraft in a safe manner and thus can endanger lives and lead to property loss.

“As such, four weeks is the minimum time required to be free of cannabis before being allowed to work.”


Canada legalized the use of recreational marijuana last fall, becoming only the second country in the world to do so. The first country to legalize marijuana was Uruguay in 2013.

At the time, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed the historic vote, tweeting,

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate.”

Canadians can cultivate four cannabis plants in their home. Mark Finlay/Flickr.

Under the new law, adults can have up to 30 grams of cannabis on them and be allowed to cultivate up to four marijuana plants in their homes. Following the legalization of the drug, Transport Canada undertook a review of its policies with regards to human impairment.

According to the federal agency, the new rules are in-keeping with the rules that the Department of National Defense and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have come up with for their workers. These policies are aligned with the best available science on the subject.

Critics say that 28 days it too long

Some quarters are calling Transport Canada’s new law on cannabis use harsh, saying it prohibits airline flight crews from consuming a legal substance during their off time from work. Taking the Canadian Military as an example, soldiers are barred from consuming cannabis eight hours prior to being on duty and 24 hours when firing weapons or driving vehicles.

Canadian are barred from consuming cannabis eight hours prior to being on duty. Photo: Canadian Army.

How long do traces of cannabis remain in your system?

For heavy smokers, traces of cannabis will remain in their bodies for months. However, being impaired to perform tasks lasts only a matter of hours, depending on the variables.

Suspected crew member could face mandatory drug test. Photo: mark Finlay?Flickr

Despite the critics, the regulator is steadfast in its policy of 28 days and says any member of a flight crew suspected of having used cannabis may face a mandatory drug test.