Cannabis in the Workplace

On October 17, 2018, cannabis became legal in Canada. The Government of Alberta is responsible for activities involving cannabis as its use relates to:

  • Impaired driving
  • Public health
  • Education
  • Taxation
  • Workplace safety
  • Distribution and wholesaling
  • Retail model
  • Retail location and rules
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Public consumption

As an employer, it is important to understand your rights and obligations in maintaining a safe work environment by properly addressing cannabis in the workplace.

Cannabis in Alberta

In Fall 2017, the government introduced the Alberta Cannabis Framework—and passed two bills–in response to the proposed legalization of cannabis across Canada:

  1. Bill 26, An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis
  2. Bill 29, An Act to Reduce Cannabis and Alcohol Impaired Driving

Further, on May 30, 2018, it passed Bill 6, Gaming and Liquor Statues Amendment Act which enables the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to regulate and enforce the province’s cannabis market.

What does cannabis legalization mean for employers?

For concerns about cannabis at work, there are various guidelines for employers to follow:

  1. Generally, cannabis at work is not permitted.
  2. It is an employer’s duty to accommodate cannabis in the workplace for medical reasons.
  3. It is an employer’s duty to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) to prevent worker impairment and maintain a safe workplace.

To protect your small business, employers should ensure they have established proper policies and documentation. Developing a clear policy for impairment at work will allow employers and supervisors to proactively deal with cannabis in the workplace. Review and revise your current workplace policy, specifically regarding the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and controlled substances at work.

Ask us for help with your cannabis in the workplace policy.

If you are confused or uncertain about dealing with cannabis in the workplace, ask Employer Line. Our dedicated employer advice line supports business owners like you with Alberta’s changing workplace laws. Call us today at: 1 (888) 219-8767.