June 12, 2017
On Wednesday June 7, Torys’ Toronto office hosted a seminar discussing how the legalization of marijuana under the Cannabis Act will impact the workplace. Benefits Canada discussed some key points addressed by the panel regarding the Act, which is to come into force July 1, 2018.
Torys counsel Darryl Hiscocks, a speaker on the panel, stressed that until the Act takes effect, recreational marijuana use remains illegal. Hiscocks stated that “the new law doesn’t mean employees can be impaired at work, just as they currently can’t show up inebriated,” likening the upcoming cannabis legalization to consumption of alcohol in order to provide perspective for concerned employers. Hiscocks further discussed workplace policy, potential safety issues to be addressed and consequential adjustments that will be needed in order to ensure appropriate precautions and regulations are implemented by employers.
Torys associate Tom Stevenson, another panel speaker, noted the difficulty in creating policy surrounding cannabis use in the office as there “isn’t a Breathalyzer equivalent to test for the drug.” The lack of immediate testing available to accurately determine improper drug use in the workplace will complicate policies and will require employers to revisit workplace procedures while referencing the rights belonging to those with medicinal marijuana prescriptions.
To learn more from our team on how legalization of marijuana will affect the workplace, click here.