When it comes to the legalization of marijuana in Canada, employers
feel unprepared for the impact increased drug use may have on the
More than 45 per cent do not believe their current workplace policies
adequately address potential new issues that may arise with the
legalization and expected increased use of marijuana, found the survey
of 650 Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) members
"Employers are concerned, and both governments and employers have a
role to play to ensure workplaces are properly prepared for the
legalization of marijuana on July 1, 2018," said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of
HRPA in Toronto. "Governments must ensure that issues such as the legal
definition of impairment, and how to accurately test those levels, are
resolved before the legalization date. On the other hand, employers must
continually update and communicate their current drug policies to
employees so expectations are clear.”
HR professionals have said that strict policies and government
guidelines will be critically important to safety-sensitive workplaces,
The top five areas of concern for employers when it comes to the
impact of marijuana are employees operating motor vehicles, disciplinary
procedures, decreased work performance, employees using heavy machinery
and attendance, found HRPA.
Fifty-four per cent of respondents believe their existing policy for
marijuana adequately covers off any potential new workplace issues that
may arise with the legalization of recreational marijuana, while 46 per
cent said no.
And 9.8 per cent of respondents said they perform some type of drug
testing on employees. Of those respondents, 75.8 per cent believe the
legalization of recreational marijuana will have either a great or
moderate impact on their drug testing policy.
In its white paper Clearing the Haze: The Impacts of Marijuana on the Workplace,
HRPA makes 10 recommendations to governments and employers to ensure
they are prepared for the increased use of marijuana and the effects on
the workplace. These recommendations include that the government
maintain two regulatory streams for medical and recreational cannabis,
and ensuring employers are prepared to answer questions about coverage
of medical marijuana in their extended health care plans.
"While a year may sound like a lot to prepare for the legalization of
marijuana, we are urging employers to act now. In terms of legalization
on a broad scale, Canada is in uncharted territory," said Greenhalgh.
"The sooner employers can communicate clear policies to employees, the
The full report can be found at www.hrpa.ca/Documents/Public/HRPA-Clearing-The-Haze.pdf.