November 5, 2019

For the past year, it has been legal for Canadians to smoke cannabis recreationally, but legal cannabis edibles, extracts, lotions, and balms will not hit the shelves until mid-December. Will cannabis gummy bears, already a big hit in Colorado, be the most popular “Secret Santa” gift at your office this year? Do existing workplace policies adequately address the possibility of impairment from this more discreet, and potentially more popular, method of ingesting cannabis? In this session, experienced labour lawyers and an expert on the impairing effects of cannabis will provide guidance on preparing your workplace policies and procedures to deal with cannabis edibles, explain how workplace law is adapting to the legal recreational use of cannabis, and discuss how the law is likely to develop further in the coming year.

  • What types of cannabis products can now be legally sold? What are the limits on the types of edibles that can be legally sold and consumed?
  • How has the legalization of recreational cannabis use affected workplaces so far? Do more employees appear to be showing up for work impaired? Has the number of workplace accidents or injuries increased? How will the legalization of cannabis edibles affect these trends? Does the availability of edibles, extracts, lotions, and balms increase the odds of employees becoming “higher” than intended, which, in turn, may increase the risk of workplace impairment?
  • Are the impairing effects of edible cannabis products different from the impairing effects of smoked cannabis? Is impairment longer lasting? Is it more difficult to detect? What are the effects of cannabis products absorbed through the skin?
  • How, if at all, should workplace drug and alcohol policies be updated to address cannabis edibles? Can policies require employees to disclose any drug use, including recreational use of cannabis, and mandate discipline for employees who fail to do so? Should employers encourage or require employees to report colleagues who violate employer policies on cannabis use?
  • Are arbitrators likely to uphold policies that prohibit any recreational cannabis use? Would violation of a policy prohibiting any recreational cannabis use provide cause for dismissal?
  • Following the legalization of recreational cannabis use, have courts and arbitrators become more receptive to the argument that workplace drug testing is justified on the basis that the appropriate focus of workplace drug and alcohol policies is management and mitigation of risk of impairment rather than detection of actual impairment?
  • Are employers required to accommodate employees who self-medicate with cannabis in the same way in which they must accommodate employees who receive medical authorization to use cannabis for a medical condition?