In 2018, the federal Cannabis Act decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. And while the provinces and territories are crafting many of the rules around the consumption of cannabis, it is important that businesses and organizations in Ontario update their workplace policies to comply with the recent changes in the legislation.

In Ontario, Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, or Bill 36, created regulatory framework for consumption of cannabis at workplace. Unlike previous legislation, Bill 36 allowed for cannabis to be treated like tobacco, and the prohibitions on its consumption are now governed by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA).

Given the consumption of cannabis in the workplace is no longer completely illegal, it is more important than ever for employers to have comprehensive workplace polices on cannabis use. Typically, this would be included within a workplace alcohol and drug use policy.

Employees still owe an obligation to their employers (implied in all contracts of employment) to bring all of their faculties to work with them unimpaired. In addition, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) will apply in hazardous workplaces, making it illegal for employees to be impaired where it would increase the risk of injury to the employee or others. Employees can be prosecuted under the OHSA and fined or imprisoned, just like supervisors and employers.

Please contact the Employment Law Group for assistance in reviewing/drafting your workplace alcohol and drug use policies.

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