How Canada’s marijuana legislation will affect employers

Employers will have to review and amend existing workplace policies and procedures once the Cannabis Act comes into force. This legal change may also require a social shift away from traditional views on the recreational use of marijuana. One key change will include removing any express policy references to marijuana usage as an illegal “off-duty” activity. While such activity will no longer be illegal, employers can still restrict the use and possession of marijuana in the workplace.

For employers, a starting point is to realize that changes will not happen overnight. As with alcohol, legalization of recreational marijuana will not give employees the right to freely use marijuana in the workplace. Employers may continue to be able to expect their employees to show up sober and ready to work. Subject to medical conditions, employers will still be entitled to discipline employees whose recreational use of marijuana has an adverse impact on their job performance. Employers must also be mindful of the use of marijuana to treat an illness or medical condition. Employee usage should be treated in accordance with existing policies and procedures on the use of other prescription medications in the workplace. Under federal and provincial human rights legislation, employers have a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities to the point of undue hardship. The range of accommodation efforts will depend on a number of factors including the financial ability to accommodate, the type of work performed and the impact of marijuana use on the employee’s essential duties.

Original Article (Globe and Mail):
How Canada’s marijuana legislation will affect employers
Artwork Fair Use: Alapoet

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