polices & procedures
PREPARING FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL CANNABIS
By Kym Fawcett
With the pending legalization of recreational canna-bis
across Canada coming in October, employers are
thinking about the impact this could have on their
workplace. Some of the common concerns they
■■ Will workplace safety or corporate culture be impacted?
■■ Will employee absenteeism increase?
■■ Will organizational productivity be affected?
■■ Will cannabis impairment in the workplace become an issue?
Many are also asking what they need to do to reduce corpo-rate
risk resulting from the expected increased use of cannabis
throughout Canada. A 2017 survey conducted by HRPA found
that, of 650 employers surveyed, nearly half (45 per cent) did
not believe their current workplace policies adequately addressed
the potential new issues that may arise with the legalization and
expected increased use of marijuana.
To address these concerns, organizations need to review their
current practices, identify gaps that may exist in respect to the
upcoming change in legislation and determine their position on
cannabis going forward. However, prior to beginning this work,
it is important for the organization to take the time to develop a
full understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the organi-zation
and its employees when it comes to cannabis. It’s only then
that they should begin to review and amend internal policies and
procedures and train their supervisors and employees accordingly.
Further, they need to ensure that appropriate staff and monetary
resources are available for this work.
In Canada, employers have two main obligations. The first is
required under federal and provincial Occupational Health and
Safety laws, which is to ensure the health, safety and welfare of
their employees. Employers are required to take every reasonable
precaution to protect employees. This includes taking proactive
steps to minimize or eliminate all potential safety risks in the work-place,
including those associated with impairment. For cannabis,
this means employers need to identify potential hazards posed by
an employee using cannabis at work. For example, do they have
employees that operate a vehicle or machinery as part of their
cendeced / 123RF Stock Photo
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ SEPTEMBER 2018 ❚ 19