October 17, 2018 – the date that recreational marijuana use will become legal in Canada 

No doubt it’s sparked many jokes around the boardroom table, and a lot of questions as well. Our clients are asking exactly what this means to their business and their employees.

Simply, legalized marijuana usage does not suddenly allow for impairment in the workplace and it is useful to consider its use similarly to alcohol. Just as alcohol consumption is generally forbidden at work and impairment prohibited, marijuana should be as well. Employers are required to ensure the health and safety of their staff and to protect against workplace injuries, and this includes ensuring workers aren’t impaired by drugs or alcohol.

To address this complex issue, we are recommending that employers update their drug and alcohol policies to explicitly reflect marijuana use. These policies need to set clear expectations regarding marijuana use (differentiating between recreational and medical use) and possession at work. Furthermore, employers need to understand their duty to accommodate substance addiction.

If you don’t already have a set of employment policies, this is the excuse you need to finally put them in place.

Not a Writer? Contact Dena for help to ensure your policies are ready before October 17th