Employer's Guide to Cannabis Legislation

Last Updated:
December 27, 2018
Ole Jensen
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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 October 17, 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 Cannabis 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.

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.

Employers are expected to establish policies and procedures for managing impairment and to do so in a confidential and empatethic manner.

This is a lot of responsibility and it can be difficult to know where to turn to for supplemental information and assistance. In addition to seeking the advice of qualified legal professionals, Scrivens is an invaluable resource. We can help!

You can access our complete Employer’s Guide to Cannabis Legalization by visiting scrivens.ca/cannabis.