Employer Guide to Cannabis Legalization

Download the Employer’s Guide to Cannabis Legalization today.

Cannabis, often referred to as weed, pot or marijuana, is one of the most commonly used psychoactive drugs in the world. And while the medicinal use of marijuana has been permissible in Canada for some time, the Cannabis Act legalizes the drug for recreational use nationwide.

Among other things, the federal law, which has a target implementation date of summer 2018, allows provinces to create specific regulations for marijuana use related to impaired driving and workplace safety. While this may sound simple on paper, a 2017 survey of Human Resources Professionals Association members found that 45 per cent of respondents did not believe their current workplace policies effectively address issues that may arise with the legalization of marijuana.

How Will the Act Affect the Workplace?

While it is uncertain how much the legalization of recreational marijuana will impact the workplace, employers are concerned it will have a direct effect on:

  1. Workplace health and safety
  2. The use of motor vehicles for work purposes
  3. The scope and type of disciplinary procedures
  4. Work performance
  5. Work attendance

Once recreational marijuana is legalized, usage will no doubt increase across the country.

The increase in casual marijuana usage paired with the administrative burden and uncertainty of legalization is new ground for Canadian employers. As such, to adequately prepare, it’s crucial that businesses adopt clear policies on the use of drugs and alcohol to prevent workplace accidents, increases in sick claims and decreases in employee productivity. Now more than ever before, both employers and employees must know how to discuss and deal with marijuana and impairment.

This guide is designed to provide a general background on marijuana use in the workplace, specifically highlighting its uses and health effects, legislative requirements, and employer and employee obligations. This guide should not construed as legal advice, and employers will need to consult with their legal team before implementing workplace policies and procedures related to marijuana and drugs.