Legalization of Cannabis What You Need to Know

Legalization of Cannabis What You Need to Know

On October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada. In preparation, businesses have diligently updated their Alcohol and Drug (A&D) Policies and educate employees about the potential impacts of cannabis use on their health and safety.

There is a lot of literature available about legalization and we are here to help you navigate what’s most important. If you take away just one piece of information, it is this – legalization does not change employer’s legal and moral responsibility to administer their A&D Policy, manage health and safety risks and protect employees from harm.

Fit for Duty (Employee Responsibility)

  • Be fit for duty regardless of what causes impairment.
    – alcohol, drugs, fatigue medications, cannabis.
  • Possession and use continues to be prohibited on work premises.
  • Pertains to all forms of cannabis (dried, oils, derivatives & edible products).
  • If you are worried about a coworker’s fitness for duty:
    – Contact your supervisor.
    – Reference your A&D policy.


Impairment Signs to Look For (Cognitive)

  • Mood shifts (tense to relaxed)
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased sociability/or withdrawal
  • Euphoria
  • Perceptual changes (time, spatial, slurred speech)


Impairment Signs to Look For (Physical)

  • Red eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Increased appetite
  • Psychomotor impairment
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Increased blood pressure & pulse
  • Lack of convergence of eyes

No Changes to Urine Drug Testing – THC

Below are urine drug test parameters before and after legalization of Cannabis on October 17th, 2018

Important Legislation

Criminal Code of Canada (Protecting Employees)

  • Employer has obligation to prevent bodily harm in the workplace.
  • OH&S legislation – employer must take reasonable steps to protect employees.
  • Includes obligation to ensure employee is not impaired at work.

Canadian Human Rights Act (Federal Law)

  • Legalization extends to disables employees who use cannabis.
  • Employers have a Duty to Accommodate to the point of undue hardship.
  • Employers required to accommodate employees with addictions.

Current Training Programs

  • Navigating the Future of Cannabis in the Workplace (1 hour speaking engagement)
  • Fit for Duty Training: Impairment Recognition & Reasonable Cause (3 hours)
  • Fit for Duty Alcohol and Drug Policy Review

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