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Cannabis Use or Any Impairment - Not for Pilots

The upcoming legalization of cannabis in Canada has prompted numerous questions around the Club regarding the impact this will have on pilots. Are pilots allowed to use cannabis recreationally or for medicinal purposes? Is there a "sobering" time period required between cannabis use and flying like the 8 hour rule for alcohol? The answers are no.

Transport Canada Civil Aviation recently published a letter to air operators and certificate holders stating their policy on this matter. They make it clear that there is zero tolerance for the use of cannabis, either recreationally or under a physician's prescription. To quote the letter; "the use of cannabis is a disqualifying factor for obtaining a medical certificate to fly or control aircraft". Without a medical you don't have a valid licence. It is Club Policy and the CARs to have zero tolerance for impairment of any kind for pilots, student pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers (safety sensitive employees). Each affected person must self-assess and comply with CARs at all times. Flying while impaired may expose to offending person to loss of employment, loss of flight privileges as well as civil and criminal causes of action arising from an aviation incident.

Further, all employees shall be "fit for duty" which means of a physical and mental state without impairment due to the use or after-effects of alcohol, drugs (e.g. legal, illegal, prescribed/over-the-counter medication) or other health conditions, required to perform their job duties safely and effectively.

Club policy must follow or exceed the Canadian Aviation Regulations. All club staff, students and rental pilots will be expected to adhere to the regulations and not consume cannabis or otherwise be impaired if they wish to use club aircraft. As with Transport Canada's current drug and alcohol policy, we will rely on the integrity and self-assessment of individual pilots to police themselves in these matters. As always, the Club reserves the right to refuse access to anyone we suspect of being impaired in any manner. Any Member or Employee shall immediately report any noted evidence of impairment and advise Dispatch of perceived impairment prior to the dispatch of the relevant CFC aircraft.

In addition,to reflect our safety culture and to instill confidence in the many non-pilots that frequent the Club facilities, the consumption of cannabis in any form is forbidden on Club property both inside the facility and outside.

We thank you for your understanding and compliance. We will be updating this policy as more guidance is provided from Transport Canada and as jurisprudence in this area develops. A copy of the Transport Canada letter to the aviation industry is available for review. CARs 602.03 is also referenced. A CFC policy update will be included in the next rendering of CFC Policies.

Please remember your IMSAFE checks prior to each flight and your commitment to only fly in accordance with CARs. Safety first !

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Calgary Flying Club, 155A MacLaurin Drive, Calgary, AB T3Z 3SR