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The impact of the legalization of cannabis in the workplace

Oct. 16th, 2018

Recreational use of cannabis is now legalized and the QFMA team would like to share some useful links with you where you can obtain information about the impact of this legislation in the workplace.

Impairment of faculties in the workplace

As part of the requirements of the Hazard Prevention Program, federally regulated employers must address problems resulting from the impairment of faculties due to cannabis in the same manner as any potential occupational hazard. Read more.

Cannabis Regulation Act

The Act specifies that an employer may, pursuant to his or her managerial prerogative, regulate the use of cannabis, or even prohibit it entirely. Read the following

Additionally, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety provides information online on the impairment of faculties in the workplace and offers courses such as Impairment and Cannabis in the Workplace.

Here are some of the recommendations by the Conseil du Patronat du Québec:

With legislation of the use of recreational cannabis coming into force, we would like to remind you of the importance of quickly adapting to this new law to prevent any unfortunate circumstance that might occur in the workplace, either from a health and safety standpoint, or from an eventual impact on productivity.

We recommend that you do these few things so you can be prepared for this new legal context:

  • Update internal policies: It is important that there be an updating of the company’s policies regarding the consumption of cannabis having an effect on the workplace and in a more general professional context, and inform the employees and supervisors about this, so everyone is fully aware of the new law in force. This policy must be clear and coherent so everyone has the same understanding of the consequences related to the use of this narcotic in the work context.
  • Check insurance policies: Employers must check that their group insurance policies have been updated, so that they include any required measures pertaining to the consumption of cannabis. It’s a certainty that recreational consumption of cannabis will not be covered, but some insurers have decided to add the option of prescribed therapeutic cannabis in their coverage. Therefore, it will be important to check the situation of each company. For further information about this, please click here
  • Implication of the Québec law: In terms of preventing accidents in the workplace, the law on occupational health and safety has been modified to include cannabis, as it pertains to the obligations of workers as well as employers. As for drug testing, it is important to note the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms has just added an additional intricacy for employers. Random drug testing must be justified, notably by a major risk of accidents. The employer may only resort to such measures if it has serious doubts about consumption by one of its employees. For further information, click here

It is important to remember that prevention should be at the forefront because cannabis consumption carries substantial risks for the health and safety of every worker, and its use should not be trivialized. In the CPQ’s opinion the message is clear: zero tolerance in the workplace. For any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Currently there are many webinars that can be viewed online, but since this is very topical issue, the webinars are not free, at the moment. Rest assured we will keep you informed about re-broadcasts, as soon as we can; check the newsletter Le Motbilier or sign up to receive future editions.