What will it look like in our workplaces next summer when cannabis will be legal?
While the Cannabis Act is intended to “create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada” the reality is that once the Cannabis Act passes, adults will be allowed to possess and access regulated, quality controlled legal cannabis. Does that mean that an employee could replace the lunchtime glass of wine with cannabis? Perhaps it does. It could certainly mean increased use of cannabis which might have an impact on the workplace.
The expectation in the workplace is that the employee is fit for duty – being impaired is not being fit for duty (no matter what the cause of the impairment). Cannabis impairment may look different than other forms of impairment and that may pose new challenges for the workplace.
The more safety-sensitive the industry the greater the need for clear policies in the workplace around fitness for duty. Workplace safety and accountability means that employers should be considering now how cannabis legalization could impact their setting and their workers. Developing appropriate workplace impairment/fitness for duty policies ensures that expectations for workers and obligations of employer are clear. In spite of cannabis legalization, we all still have to behave like responsible adults!