Cannabis in the Workplace – Employer Guidelines

Cannabis in the workplace may seem like a simple issue for employers to prevent but there are some complications. The legal statutes around marijuana give employees many rights that employers need to keep in mind when creating safety policies for workers. Doing otherwise could violate those rights and make employers liable for said violations.

As such, the team at Advanced CT would like you to know some guidelines for employers concerning cannabis in the workplace.

Legal Status of Marijuana in Canada

Cannabis in the Workplace legality

According to the Cannabis Act of 2018, adults in Canada are permitted to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public. The cultivation, sale, and distribution of marijuana are nevertheless subject to rules. 

For instance, people are only permitted to produce a maximum of four plants per household, and they have to be grown from legal seeds or seedlings. Also, there are stringent guidelines for the labelling and packaging of marijuana goods, and government licenses are required for retailers.

Moreover, selling or giving marijuana to a juvenile under the age of 18 is prohibited, and those who do so face harsh consequences. Also, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, and those who do so will face penalties. 

Each province or territory has its laws governing marijuana. For instance, whereas some provinces have set the minimum age to buy marijuana at 19, others have set it at 18. Additionally, several provinces have imposed restrictions on where marijuana can be used, such as outlawing smoking in public areas.

Overall, even though marijuana usage for recreational purposes has been allowed in Canada, rules are still in place to make sure it is done so safely and sensibly. To remain within the bounds of the law, it is crucial to be knowledgeable of the regulations in your particular province or area.


Employers’ Rights Concerning Cannabis in the Workplace

Even though cannabis usage is now permitted for recreational purposes, companies are still free to establish limitations on its use at work. This is so because companies are required by law to give their workers a safe workplace, and intoxicated workers can be dangerous. 

Cannabis usage is illegal at work, and employers can establish rules around marijuana use there. These policies may forbid the use, sale, or possession of marijuana on corporate grounds and may outline the penalties for infractions.

To ensure that workers are not impaired while on the job, businesses may also administer drug tests. Drug testing, however, must be carried out in a fair and non-discriminatory manner and should only be utilized if there is a real safety problem. Also, employers should have rules in place regarding drug testing and make sure that all employees are aware of them. 

To maintain a secure and effective work environment, employees must be aware of and abide by their employer’s policy regarding cannabis use in the workplace. Workers who breach the policy may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination.


Medical Exemptions to Rules Prohibiting Cannabis in the Workplace

Cannabis in the Workplace medical

Those who can use medical marijuana in Canada are free from some rules that apply to the workplace. To guarantee that people who use medicinal marijuana for therapy have the same opportunities and rights as other workers, certain exemptions have been put in place. 

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with impairments, including those who use medical marijuana, per Canadian human rights law. This means that, unless doing so would result in an undue hardship for the employer, companies must provide reasonable adjustments to allow employees to accomplish their job tasks.

An employer may be compelled to permit medicinal marijuana use in the workplace if an employee has a valid medical marijuana card and their use does not prevent them from carrying out their tasks safely. Depending on the nature of the job, this can entail permitting an employee to use or consume medicinal marijuana while at work.

These accommodations do have some restrictions, though. For instance, due to the potential safety risks, employers are not compelled to provide accommodations for a worker who is impaired when under the influence of medical marijuana while at work. Additionally, if accommodating a medicinal marijuana user would put the employer through a great deal of expense or inconvenience at work, the company is not compelled to do so. 

Employers and employees who use medical marijuana should work together to create a reasonable accommodation that enables both parties to execute their respective tasks safely and efficiently.


Advanced CT – Leaders in Occupational Health & Safety

Employers can have a significant impact on the presence of cannabis in the workplace but they also need to acknowledge their limits. Ensuring the safety of workers should not come at the expense of their rights. To guarantee a secure and effective workplace, both employees and employers must be aware of the rules and laws governing marijuana use in the workplace. It seems expected that employment regulations and accommodations will continue to alter as Canada’s legalization of marijuana progresses.

Please contact us if you need help maintaining safety in your workplace. Since the company’s inception in 1998, Advanced CT., with its diverse staff of certified health and safety professionals, has provided prompt, affordable, and pertinent workplace health and safety solutions, including working at heights training, site audits, and safety consulting. We provide our clients with safety programs that are supported by qualifications from the professional world as a Chief Prevention Officer-approved, TSSA-accredited, and WSIB-authorized safety provider.

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