Report Outlines Concerns of Legalization for Canadian Organizations

Published: June 19, 2018

Report Outlines Concerns of Legalization for Canadian Organizations

With the passing of Bill C-45 in the Senate, Canada is one step closer to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. More than half (52 per cent) of Canadian organizations are either concerned or very concerned about the implications this will have on the workplace according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada.

“Workplace safety is consistently flagged as employers’ top concern with legalization, but the solution is not one-size-fits-all,” said Bryan Benjamin, Vice-President, Organizational Performance, The Conference Board of Canada. “Gauging and managing impairment; adapting workplace policies; and ensuring employees are educated on what is allowed and what remains prohibited are all crucial components to a smooth transition to legalization.”

Highlights

– More than half (52 per cent) of Canadian organizations are either concerned or very concerned about the legalization of cannabis as it pertains to the workplace.
– Employers’ top concerns include workplace safety, impairment or intoxication, and increased use of cannabis both inside and outside the workplace.
– Employers will play a critical role in helping to shape legislation related to impairment, drug testing, and benefits coverage for medical use.

In addition to workplace safety, impairment or intoxication, and increased use of cannabis both inside and outside the workplace, employers also expressed concern surrounding testing for impairment, managing accommodation needs, costs of covering medical cannabis and other financial impacts on the organization, and issues related to productivity and employee performance.

The report, Blazing the Trail: What the Legalization of Cannabis Means for Canadian Employers, discusses the varied perspectives on how to evaluate impairment from cannabis, and outlines the need to implement or amend drug policies to address the legalization of cannabis will vary depending on type of work.

The report offers some considerations for employers, including:

– Determine how stringent the organization should be regarding alcohol and drug testing and potential discipline for impairment on the job.
– Provide appropriate resources and supports for those who may be suffering from problematic cannabis use and addiction, including employee (family) assistance programs and access to confidential treatment.
Determine whether to allow limited consumption of cannabis during work-related social or networking events.
Educate employees and managers on how to detect and manage problematic use, dependence, and potential cannabis impairment.

This report provides an overview of the landscape for employers as legalization of recreational cannabis approaches. An extensive literature review is supplemented by data from a recent survey of Canadian employers (click here to view the report).