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On October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis use became decriminalized in Canada. The legalization of recreational marijuana simply means that cannabis can no longer be treated as an illegal substance.

Employers in Canada have been addressing issues related to worker impairment, regardless of the cause (alcohol or prescription medications) for decades. The legalization of recreational marijuana is in many ways similar to alcohol – employees do not have the right to be impaired while performing their work and/or at their workplace (which may be defined to include company vehicles and/or customer sites).

For self-employed individuals and contractors, the same applies in that they are not to be impaired when performing services for an organization. Please review your contract to ensure it addresses this issue.

It is recommended that you implement workplace policies and/or contracts that require the disclosure of any potential impairment or addiction that affect normal duties, or otherwise pose a health and safety risk.

This will provide your organization with the opportunity to assess the potential need to accommodate your employee, whether they are using prescribed medical cannabis, have a dependence on alcohol, taking any medication that may have impairment effects, or any other related issue.

With this change in legislation, now is a good time to review your drug and alcohol policies and/or contracts. Contact us today to see how we can help.