Cannabis in the Workplace
On October 17, 2018, Canada passed the Cannabis Act. As a result, employers may have concerns about cannabis in the workplace. It is important that they understand how this legislation applies to their employees and business.
The legislation allows for the legal consumption and purchase of cannabis products. In the province of British Columbia, the Cannabis Control and Licencing Act (CCLA) provides a regulatory framework for all activities involving the cultivation, distribution, sale and consumption of cannabis. The following regulations are now in effect:
- Anyone over the age of 19 may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in a public space.
- Cannabis consumption is prohibited in any area where the smoking of tobacco is prohibited.
How does Cannabis in the Workplace Affect Employers?
In areas where cannabis in the workplace can be a concern, Occupational Health and Safety Regulations remain unchanged. Existing provincial legislation regulates cannabis consumption in the workplace under its rules on impairment by alcohol, drugs or other substances:
- Employees may not enter or remain in the workplace while their ability to work is impaired by alcohol, drugs or other substances, so as not to hurt themselves or other people.
- Employees may not remain in the workplace if their behaviour is affected by alcohol, drugs or other substances, so as not to create undue risk to others, unless the workplace is intended to confine or treat such individuals.
- Employers may not knowingly allow employees to remain in the workplace if they are impaired.
Employers should review their existing workplace policies on alcohol consumption and impairment at work to include cannabis use. Upon revision, ensure that you’re communicating any changes to your employees.
It is the responsibility of the employer to prevent impaired employees from engaging in work that puts them or others at risk. As an employer, you may prohibit the use of cannabis for non-medical reasons during work hours or on commercial property. If you are considering implementing any type of drug screening program, it is strongly advised to seek consultation from professionals.
Do you have a Cannabis in the Workplace Policy in place?
Don’t wait until you have to manage an employee issue related to cannabis use in the workplace. Start protecting your business today by revisiting your drug and alcohol policy. If you have any questions, ask Employer Line.
Our dedicated employer advice line can provide help and advice on B.C.’s changing labour laws. Call us today – 1(833) 200-5103.