Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
While the Canadian government has announced its intention to legalize the substance in the near future for non-medical recreational use, the possession of marijuana today still remains unlawful under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Its use for medical purposes however, is permitted under the Regulations to the Act.
So what does this mean for Canadian employers?
The use of non-medical marijuana (whether legal or not) may continue to be treated in the same way as the use of alcohol under the organizations Workplace Drug & Alcohol Policy. Employers will have the right to prohibit the use of marijuana during work hours, and to further prohibit attendance at work while impaired. Violation of these prohibitions can be made the subject of progressive discipline. In appropriate cases, such violations could result in termination of employment for just cause.
If an employee must use marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is the employer’s duty to accommodate the employee’s disability under the provincial and federal human rights legislation. An employee is disabled if their use amounts to a physical or psychological dependency.
To prepare for the legalization of marijuana, Canadian employers should be reviewing and updating their existing framework of policies to adequately address issues relating to both the medical and non-medical use of marijuana at work.
To start, employers should:
- Update drug & alcohol policies
- Modify human rights and accommodation policies
- Introduce protocols for the accommodation of medical marijuana use at work
- Establish a framework for testing impairment
- Train management and supervisory staff on the application of all policies
Original article source: Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace – Peter Straszynski – Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video