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Marijuana Is Soon To Be Legalized In Canada. Do You Have A Workplace Policy In Place?

Marijuana is soon to be legalized in Canada. Do you have a workplace policy in place?

Hello everyone!

Today I’m going to talk about the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana  – how to be prepared and potential impacts on your theatre as a workplace.

Alcohol and drug use in the workplace can be an expensive problem for companies with issues ranging from absenteeism, an increase to benefit claims, performance management issues, workers’ compensation claims, injuries/accidents, lost productivity, and even law suits. Given all of these potential impacts, it’s important to think about how your theatre company is going to mitigate your risks and keep your workplace safe and productive for everyone who works there.

If you haven’t already started thinking about developing or updating your alcohol and drugs in the workplace policy, now’s the time to start! All companies will want to have very clear rules around the use of marijuana in the workplace.  Here are some things to think about including in your policy:

  • The distinction between recreational and medical marijuana
  • Impairment timelines
  • Disciplinary measures
  • Where and if smoking marijuana is allowed on premises (medical & guests)
  • Documents and requirements for those who have either an addiction or prescription for medical reasons and communication requirements
  • If impairment testing is reasonable in any circumstance
  • Safety sensitive roles (Drivers, Technicians, Carpenters, Props Builders, Wardrobe Personnel, Scenic Painters, etc)
  • Smoke-free workplaces legislation

Management Rights & Policy Development

In exactly the same way as alcohol, you have management rights to restrict or prohibit the use of marijuana in the workplace, including showing up to work under the influence. Your rights become stronger when you have a clearly laid out policy surrounding this. One thing that is extremely important is the clear differentiation between the use of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana and how those two different situations would be handled. This is important as the use of medical marijuana is protected under the Human Rights Act and cannot be discriminated against. When an employee has a prescription for medical marijuana for health reasons, the Employer has a responsibility to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship.

For an in-depth look at the elements to include in your policy click here. (Please note that you must have a member account to access this forum.)

If you’re interested in discussing this topic, along with the use of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace with your peers, we have scheduled a Hot Topics call around the use of alcohol and drugs in the workplace for October 10th 2018 from 1:00 pm- 2:00 pm EDT. The call is open to staff at PACT member companies and PACT colleagues. Click here for details and registration.


Alicia Cachia, HR Specialist

*Please not that any information provided is for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

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