What You Need to Know About Cannabis and the Workplace

Cannabis in the workplace

Did you know that of the 646,000 Canadians who tried cannabis for the first time since its legalization in 2018, half were aged 45 or older? The culture around cannabis is shifting as legislation tries to keep up. With that comes implications for dealing with cannabis in the workplace. Pallett Valo LLP joined us recently to get our network of advisors up to speed on cannabis legalization, accommodations and workplace policy.

Cannabis and Workplace Considerations

        • Legislation such as the ‘Smoke-Free Ontario Act’ and the ‘Occupational Health and Safety Act’ make it illegal to consume recreational cannabis in enclosed workplaces. The latter also outlines the responsibilities and obligations of both employers and employees.
        • Be aware of the signs of employees’ potential impairment such as delayed reaction times and distorted senses. This is especially important for employees in safety sensitive work areas.
    • It is your responsibility as a manager to conduct performance evaluations that inquire about an suspected substance use. At the same the employee has a responsibility to disclose any disability that requires accommodation.
    • The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination of the grounds of disability which includes substance use disorders and addiction. Employers have a duty to accommodate employees with a disability to the point of undue hardship. Undue hardship depends on the size and capabilities of the company case by case.
    • There is no absolute right to use medical cannabis in the workplace. Policies around its use need to be established by employers.

      It’s important to start thinking about setting up accommodation policies as well as substance use or drug and alcohol policies as your team grows. The potential liability you take is substantial. Resources for constructing health and safety policies that protect you and your employees are available through the Ministry of Labour and the Human Rights Commission.

      For more information on how to schedule a workplace audit to assess your policy needs you can contact Maria Tassou, LL.B. at Pallet Valo LLP at mtassou@pallettvalo.com


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