Health Safety Training & Consulting Service in Canada

Marijuana and Workplace Safety Series II

First thing first, no information provided here should be regarded as legal advice or absolute. For more information, please check out

Current Situation– Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, The possession, production and trafficking of Marijuana is prohibited, unless where authorized by exemptions or regulations for medical use.

Going forward, the Cannabis Act has been passed through Legislature and it is expected to come into effect as Law across Canada with regulations by individual provinces by the end of July, 2018. Cannabis will however remain illegal until the Cannabis Act is brought into force.

Does legalization of Marijuana mean employees can be impaired at work? No. Kings Safety Consulting Ltd. will have the right to set rules for non-medical use of marijuana in the workplace in much the same way rules are currently set for use of alcohol or any substance that may cause impairment. In particular, it may mean the prohibition of the use of marijuana at work or during working hours and may also prohibit employees from attending work while impaired. Workplace rules regarding non-medical use of marijuana may be enforced through the application of the organization’s progressive discipline policy.

Duty to Accommodate– Under current provincial and federal human rights legislation, employers (KSCL) are expected to accommodate an employee with/may have a disability/addiction disability that has been prescribed medication(s). However, there are limits to the ‘Duty to Accommodate’. Some limitations include the point that a medical prescription, including marijuana, does not entitle an employee to be impaired at work, compromise their own safety and that of others.

What does this mean in practice? There is still an expectation under the new Cannabis Act that safety is the responsibility of the employer, who should do everything reasonably legal to keep everyone involved in their business safe.

Working while impaired in a role that requires attention, focus and being mindful of others safety is contrary to safety expectations in a workplace and employers are within their rights to enforce this through their own Human Resources processes.

Legalization of Marijuana does not give ‘Cate Blanche’ to compromise on safety in the workplace. Just like other legal substances like alcohol, employees are still expected to show up for work, on time and to perform their duties under safety and health regulations in the best interest of everybody’s safety.

Remember, you always have a choice, but only you can decide to do it the safe way. The safe way is usually not the shortest or quickest way, but it’s your decision.
Every reasonable precaution should be taken to protect yourself and promote our ZERO ACCIDENTS culture.
Be Safe!

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