Risk & Business Magazine McFarlan Rowlands Magazine Winter 2018 - Page 30

ARTICLE THE CANNABIS TITLE ACT What Canadian Businesses Need To Know About THE CANNABIS ACT L ike it or not, the use of cannabis has become legal in Canada for recreational purposes. This change in the law is going to have significant impacts on the general public, but it will also change the way employers deal with their businesses as well. It’s essential that employers are able to put clear policies in place regarding the use of drugs (including marijuana) and alcohol to prevent incidents in the workplace, reduce sick claims, and maintain normal levels of employee productivity. The time to act is now, if you have not already. HOW, EXACTLY, COULD THE CANNABIS ACT AFFECT EMPLOYERS? IN A NUMBER OF FUNDAMENTAL WAYS: The Cannabis Act will not change the responsibilities of employers or employees in terms of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Though the federal law has legalized marijuana, it allows for provinces to create regulations specifically regarding cannabis use when related to workplace safety and driving. Even with marijuana becoming legal recreationally, employers still have the right to regulate trafficking, consumption, and possession at work. Additionally, employers can still prohibit employees from working under the influence. Though random drug tests and searches are generally prohibited in the workplace, employers are still able to check for possession of drugs or intoxication of employees after accidents occur if they have a reasonable suspicion of restricted use or when employees are returning to work after previous issues regarding marijuana use. There are still two circumstances during which employers can require drug tests for interviews or new hires: when the workplace has safety concerns which could be made worse by marijuana use, and when the employer has reasonable grounds to believe the prospect might use marijuana in an unhealthy way which may affect work. 30