DAOD 2007-2, Use of Cannabis by DND Employees

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2018-10-09

Effective Date: 2018-10-17

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members) who act as managers or supervisors of DND employees.

Approval Authority:

  • Deputy Minister of National Defence (DM)
  • Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS)


  • Director General Workforce Management (DGWM) (for policy on the management of DND employees)
  • Director Safety General (D Safe G) (for policy on the occupational health and safety of DND employees).

2. Definitions

cannabis consumption (consommation de cannabis)

In respect of cannabis, its smoking, vaping, ingesting, or absorption by any other means into the body. (Defence Terminology Bank, record number 694927)

safety sensitive duty (tâche à risque élevé en matière de sécurité)

A duty performed by a DND employee who has a role in a DND or CAF operation, training or support activity in which impairment of the ability to safely and effectively perform that duty could result in:

  1. a serious accident, injury or incident affecting the health or safety of DND employees, CAF members or members of the public, or the environment; or
  2. poor decision making, resulting in:
    1. an inadequate response or failure to respond to an emergency or operational situation;
    2. jeopardy to health, safety or primacy of operations, or compromise of the DND or the CAF; or
    3. significant damage or disruption of DND or CAF assets or public property.

(Defence Terminology Bank, new record number 694986)

3. General Principles


3.1 In this DAOD, “cannabis” and “possession” have the same meanings as in subsection 2(1) of the Cannabis Act.


3.2 The DND recognizes that impairment in Canadian workplaces is an important concern for employers. Impairment due to the consumption of alcohol, opioids, cannabis or any other legal or illegal drug continues to be strictly prohibited in all federal workplaces.

3.3 The DND recognizes that cannabis consumption could adversely affect the job performance and well-being of DND employees and the work environment, and compromise the security and the safety of DND and CAF activities. Although current science does not provide safe limits for cannabis consumption and does not quantify the degree of performance impairment, it does clearly show that cognitive impairment from cannabis consumption can persist beyond the period of acute intoxication.

3.4 The DND and the CAF must provide a safe workplace for all DND employees on defence establishments. To ensure a safe workplace, all aspects of DND and CAF operations, training and support activities for DND employees must be considered.

3.5 A safe workplace includes an environment where a DND employee is not commencing any work if their ability to safely and effectively perform that work may be impaired due to cannabis consumption. If a DND employee is not safely and effectively performing their work due to cannabis consumption, the safety of other DND employees, CAF members and members of the public may be affected.

Cannabis for Medical Purposes

3.6 This DAOD does not affect the duty to accommodate DND employees and other persons on a defence establishment who have been authorized to access cannabis for medical purposes. However, DND employees who have medical authorization must communicate openly with their supervisor about any work limitations or concerns regarding their ability to perform their work safely and effectively.

Relevant Laws

3.7 Cannabis consumption and possession by DND employees is permitted, provided such consumption and possession is in accordance with:

  1. all applicable Canadian federal, provincial, territorial and municipal laws;
  2. any applicable foreign laws that apply in the case of DND employees serving in support of an international military operation or exercise;
  3. this DAOD; and
  4. any directives prohibiting cannabis consumption and possession that may be issued under paragraph 4.3.


3.8 The DND and the CAF must:

  1. ensure that all DND employees have access to this DAOD, and any applicable DND and Treasury Board (TB) policies and directives in respect of cannabis in the workplace; and
  2. provide managers and supervisors with guidance and support on:
    1. this DAOD and any applicable DND and TB policies and directives in respect of cannabis in the workplace; and
    2. disciplinary measures in respect of non-compliance by DND employees with this DAOD.

3.9 In cases of suspected non-compliance with this DAOD, delegated managers must take prompt action in accordance with DAOD 5016-0, Standards of Civilian Conduct and Discipline.

3.10 Managers and supervisors must:

  1. ensure communication of this DAOD, and any applicable DND and TB policies and directives in respect of cannabis in the workplace, to all DND employees; and
  2. engage a labour relations advisor if a DND employee presents a medical limitation related to the use of cannabis.

Standard of Conduct

3.11 All DND employees are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times as set out in DAOD 5016-0.

3.12 DND employees must:

  1. comply with:
    1. the relevant laws set out in paragraph 3.7;
    2. other applicable DND and TB policies and directives in respect of cannabis in the workplace;
    3. the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector; and
    4. the DND and CAF Code of Values and Ethics;
  2. make themselves aware of all relevant information regarding cannabis consumption;
  3. inform their supervisor without delay before commencing or continuing their work if their ability to safely and effectively perform that work may be impaired due to cannabis consumption; and
  4. inform their supervisor of any medical requirement to consume cannabis in the workplace or that impact activities or operations within the workplace.


3.13 The determination by a manager or supervisor that, due to cannabis consumption, a DND employee is reporting for work impaired, or that their ability to safely and effectively perform their work or a specific duty is impaired, should be based on interactions with the DND employee and observation of some or all of the following:

  • the odor of cannabis;
  • glassy or red eyes;
  • unusual talkativeness;
  • slow reaction;
  • inattention;
  • lethargy;
  • unsteady gait;
  • poor coordination; and
  • anxiety.

Note – Supervisors of DND employees should be aware that these signs may be caused by a medical condition that may require immediate medical or other attention. In the case of any doubt, a DND employee should be referred for medical assessment and the performance of their work or any specific duty suspended until it is determined that the DND employee can safely and effectively perform their work or duty.

Labour Relations Advisors

3.14 Any cannabis consumption or possession contrary to this DAOD will be dealt with through a labour relations advisor.

Evidence of Risks and Effects

3.15 The DND acknowledges that under some circumstances cannabis consumption could undermine the promotion of safety in the workplace and the maintenance of operational effectiveness. This acknowledgement is based on the following considerations:

  1. cannabis consumption causes impairment of attention, cognition, mood, memory, judgement and motor skills, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on:
    1. the amount of THC that a DND employee has consumed;
    2. the DND employee’s health and physical constitution;
    3. the preparation of the cannabis, i.e. in dry or oil form;
    4. the route of consumption, i.e. by inhaling or ingesting; and
    5. environmental factors that alter human metabolism;
  2. concurrent use of alcohol or pharmaceuticals, such as over the counter or prescription medications, can magnify, alter or prolong the effects of cannabis;
  3. cannabis is fat-soluble and therefore moves from the bloodstream into the tissues more rapidly, and is eliminated from the body more slowly, than many other intoxicating substances;
  4. traces of cannabis may remain in the human body for up to 28 days or more following consumption and therefore:
    1. the level of cannabis measured in body fluids and tissues may not correspond to the degree of impairment caused by cannabis; and
    2. subacute or persistent cannabis impairment, i.e. the state of cannabis impairment in which a person appears well, constitutes an important occupational and safety risk;
  5. cannabis consumption can cause significant impairment in the ability to perform complex tasks in casual users up to 24 hours after the consumption;
  6. cannabis consumption can cause persistent impairment in chronic or heavy users, extending for weeks or months, and may be amplified in extreme conditions, including high altitude, aerospace and hyperbaric environments;
  7. regular or heavy cannabis consumption can lead to chronic cannabis impairment, i.e. prolonged or permanent neuro-cognitive dysfunction, which persists even after all detectable traces of cannabis have been eliminated by the body;
  8. cannabis consumption can be harmful to health, especially to the neurological development of persons under 25 years of age, including fetal exposure in utero; and
  9. cannabis consumption can be addictive.

3.16 DND employees should be aware that cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful substances as tobacco smoke and therefore can damage lungs and cause bronchitis-like symptoms, coughing and wheezing which, alone or together, can affect their overall physical performance.

3.17 The DND supports education and health promotion efforts to reduce personal and public harm related to cannabis consumption.

CAF Members

3.18 DAOD 9004-1, Use of Cannabis by CAF Members, sets out cannabis-related prohibitions for CAF members.


4. Prohibitions on Cannabis Consumption and Possession

General Prohibitions

4.1 A DND employee is prohibited from:

  1. cannabis consumption during the period of 8 hours before any known or expected performance of work;
  2. reporting to the workplace impaired, or commencing any work if their ability to safely and effectively perform that work is impaired, due to cannabis consumption;
  3. cannabis consumption while in the workplace;
  4. cannabis consumption or possession during the entire period that the DND employee is in or on any vessel, vehicle or aircraft, military or civilian, operated by or in support of the DND or the CAF;
  5. cannabis consumption during the entire period that the DND employee is deployed in support of a domestic military operation or exercise, other than any period of authorized leave in Canada; and
  6. cannabis consumption or possession during the entire period that the DND employee is deployed in support of an international military operation or exercise, other than any period of authorized leave in Canada.

Additional Prohibitions in Respect of Safety Sensitive Duties

4.2 In addition to the above general prohibitions, cannabis consumption is prohibited by a DND employee during the period of 24 hours or 28 days before the known or expected performance of any work that includes a safety sensitive duty listed in the following table:

Period of Prohibition Safety Sensitive Duty
24 hours
  • operation or handling of a loaded firearm, ammunition, explosive ordnance or explosive;
  • operation or handling of a weapon system;
  • a scheduled base emergency response duty, including firefighting, medical first response, or chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear defence;
  • participation in a scheduled operational military exercise;
  • operation of a wheeled or tracked vehicle, or mobile support equipment;
  • servicing, loading, testing or involvement in maintaining a military aircraft or component of a military aircraft;
  • operation of a civilian vessel requiring a certificate of competency or piloting of a military vessel in a harbour;
  • operation of a laser of class 3B, 3R or 4, as classified under the American National Standards Institute Z136.1, Safe Use of Lasers;
  • operation of a fuel farm or handling petroleum;
  • using or handling any hazardous material as defined in DAOD 4003-1, Hazardous Materials Management;
  • operation of heavy duty equipment, including the performance of technical duties in a maintenance or engineering facility; or
  • operation of a base heating, power or water treatment plant.
28 days
  • operating in a hyperbaric environment, i.e. diving, submarine service or use of a recompression chambers; or
  • controlling or directing an aerospace platform or asset.

Note – A DND employee may seek clarification of any of the above duties through their supervisor.

Request for Additional Prohibitions

4.3 Any level one advisor or commander of a command may request that the DM issue directives setting out additional prohibitions applicable to DND employees in their organizations if cannabis consumption may impact particular environments, duties, positions, tasks, activities or operations, based on a safety hazard and risk assessment.

4.4 Any request made to the DM in respect of additional prohibitions to be imposed under paragraph 4.3 must include a precise description of the DND employees to whom the prohibitions would apply and a detailed explanation of the rationale for the request.

5. Assistance for DND Employees


5.1 The DND is committed to assisting DND employees who inform their respective manager of an addiction to cannabis or a disability that requires cannabis consumption, and who are actively seeking help. DND managers must be aware of the various professional support and assistance programs for DND employees.

5.2. Accommodation must respect individual dignity to enable DND employees to carry out their work-related activities. DND employees should consult DAOD 5015-0, Workplace Accommodation, for further information about accommodation.

6. Compliance and Consequences


6.1 DND employees and CAF members must comply with this DAOD. Should clarification of the policies or instructions set out in this DAOD be required, DND employees and CAF members may seek direction through their channels of communication or chain of command, as appropriate. Managers and military leaders have the primary responsibility for and means of ensuring the compliance of their DND employees and CAF members with this DAOD.

Note ̶ In this section, "DAOD" includes any directive issued under paragraph 4.3.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

6.2 DND employees and CAF members are accountable to their respective managers and military leaders for any failure to comply with the direction set out in this DAOD. Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance may be investigated. Managers and military leaders must take or direct appropriate corrective measures if non-compliance with this DAOD is detected.

6.3 The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from non-compliance should be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance and other relevant circumstances. Consequences of non-compliance may include one or more of the following:

  • the ordering of the completion of appropriate learning, training or professional development;
  • the entering of observations in individual performance evaluations;
  • increased reporting and performance monitoring;
  • the withdrawal of any authority provided under this DAOD to a DND employee or CAF member;
  • the reporting of suspected offences to responsible law enforcement agencies;
  • the application of specific consequences as set out in applicable laws, codes of conduct, and DND and CAF policies and instructions;
  • other administrative action, including the imposition of disciplinary measures, for a DND employee;
  • other administrative or disciplinary action, or both, for a CAF member; and
  • the imposition of liability on the part of Her Majesty in right of Canada, DND employees and CAF members.

Note – In respect to the compliance of DND employees, see the TB Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

7. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

7.1 The following table identifies responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

The ... is or are responsible for ...
  • providing advice in relation to administrative action, including disciplinary action, that may be taken in respect of non-compliance with this DAOD by DND employees.
D Safe G
  • ensuring that a safety hazard and risk assessment is carried out when any additional prohibitions are requested; and
  • providing direction and guidance to managers and DND employees on any occupation health or safety issue related to cannabis consumption.
delegated managers
  • determining disciplinary measures for DND employees who fail to comply with this DAOD.
managers and supervisors
  • providing continuing education to DND employees in respect of this DAOD, and any other applicable DND and TB policies and directives in respect of cannabis in the workplace; and
  • providing written notification to current and any new DND employees who occupy positions which may require the performance of any safety sensitive duty listed in paragraph 4.2 or in any directive issued under paragraph 4.3.
DND employees who authorize contracts
  • ensuring that contracts prohibit cannabis consumption by contractors while in the DND workplace.
CAF members who supervise DND employees
  • reporting to a manager if a DND employee, due to cannabis consumption, is reporting for work impaired, or if their ability to safely and effectively perform their work or a specific duty is impaired; and
  • reporting to an appropriate authority an incident of suspected non-compliance with this DAOD by a DND employee.

8. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

  • DAOD 4003-1, Hazardous Materials Management
  • DAOD 5015-0, Workplace Accommodation
  • DAOD 5016-0, Standards of Civilian Conduct and Discipline
  • DAOD 5028-0, Deployment of DND Employees in Support of Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff Controlled International Operations
  • DAOD 9004-1, Use of Cannabis by CAF Members
  • DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics
  • Guidelines for Civilian Discipline
  • American National Standards Institute Z136.1, Safe Use of Lasers (available in English only)
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