Cannabis In the Workplace
What You Need to Know as an Employer in Ontario
James LeNoury LLP- CBHM's Employment and Labour Law Specialist, passed along this information and webinar to assist in updating our clients with important health and safety information
James has prepared a short on-demand webinar to answer some of the most burning (pun intended) questions about how the legalization of cannabis will effect employers and employees in Ontario.
James has also prepared a compilation of short points that you may wish to 'cut and paste' and use to communicate to your employees through email, a notice in a common area or other means.
While this webinar touches on some of those items, it focuses specifically on Cannabis in the Workplace and the things you need to know as an employer in Ontario. It will inform you about the obligations and rights of both you and your employees.
Some important items and questions answered in the webinar include:
• Consumption of recreational cannabis is NOT allowed in the workplace.
• There are differences between medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis that you should be aware of.
• Driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of cannabis is NOT allowed.
• Much of the guidance for dealing with cannabis use by employees is governed by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code in issues of dependency or disability.
• Now is a good time to review your policies regarding all substances in the workplace, and to advise your employees about those policies.
• It is also important to have your employees acknowledge in writing that they are aware of and understand your policies
Communication to Employees
Simply notifying your employees of your policies regarding substance usage may not be enough. Best practice is to receive written acknowledgment from each of your employees that they are aware of and understand the policies.
These points below are only meant as top line guidance, and communicating these points may also be a good opportunity to make your employees aware of your wider policies and receive their written acknowledgment.
Policy Regarding Cannabis in the Workplace
While cannabis usage is legal as of October 17, it is not legal to smoke cannabis in the workplace.
If you have been prescribed medicinal cannabis that may effect your work performance, you are obliged to make your supervisor aware of your prescription, just as you are obliged to make your supervisor aware of any prescription that may effect your work performance.
Your privacy will be respected in accordance with all aspects of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Our goal is to make sure that everyone is safe in the workplace.
Use of recreational cannabis falls under the same guidelines as other legal substances which cause impairment, such as alcohol. All policies regarding the use of recreational cannabis will be consistent with the policies regarding the use of alcohol. Again, these policies, which include dependency issues will be administered in full compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Human Rights Code.
: The Government of Ontario has a zero tolerance policy commercial drivers. You will not be allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved oral fluid screening device) if you are driving a motor vehicle and have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence or if the vehicle you are driving requires an A-F driver’s licence or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR).
General information about the laws governing usage and sale of cannabis in Ontario after October 17 can be found on the Government of Ontario provincial website: www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization#section-2