Cannabis Legalization Is Here: Is Your Workplace Prepared?

Cannabis leaves of a plant on a dark background

Blog updated November 2019

We have previously shared important information that all employers should know before recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada. As a year has passed since the legalization date of October 17, 2018,  we now have a number of resources available to help you make sure your workplace prepared to handle these issues.

The Facts on Marijuana Legalization and the Workplace

Consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace was always illegal and continues to be after legalization. Employees have never had the right to work while impaired, and the Cannabis Act didn’t change that. In fact, the new legislation only allows individuals to consume marijuana in private residences—not in any public spaces.

Employers and Supervisors:

  • Need to familiarize themselves with the rules for cannabis use.
  • Will be required to address workplace hazards under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
  • Must ensure that employees are aware of all rules and policies.

Employees and Workers:

  • Who are unable or unfit to work safely could be a hazard to themselves or to others in the workplace.
  • Have a duty to perform work safely and to report any hazards to their supervisor or employer under the OHSA.

The Challenge of Monitoring Marijuana on the Job

Marijuana impairment can be difficult to detect, especially with the rise in the popularity of odorless edibles. Workplace policies may need to be amended. For example, if a workplace policy prohibits employees from drinking alcohol on the job or at lunch, it will also need to prohibit them from using cannabis during work hours or on breaks.

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the workplace remains a safe and productive environment for all.

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