OHS Canada Magazine

Cannabis remains off limits at most Canadian workplaces

October 4, 2019

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Legalization’s impact has been lower than expected: survey

The one-year anniversary of legalized recreational cannabis is on the horizon, but the impact of the drug in Canadian workplaces has been lower than expected, according to a survey.

Recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, 2018.

A year later, the majority of workplaces (86 per cent) continue to ban cannabis consumption before, during and after work, according to an ADP survey of 1,160 Canadian workers.

Eight per cent of respondents said cannabis use is allowed during the workday.

The survey found that recreational cannabis had a smaller-than-expected impact on workplace performance.


Most Canadians believe recreational cannabis has had no impact at work in terms of health and safety incidents (75 per cent), productivity (74 per cent) absenteeism (71 per cent) or quality of work (70 per cent).

This is in stark contrast to opinions held prior to legalization in 2018, when nearly half of working Canadians expected productivity and quality of work to decline, and health and safety incidents and absenteeism to increase.

‘No noticeable impact’

For those whose employer allows the use of recreational cannabis, 63 per cent are consuming it before work, 47 per cent are consuming during work hours and 72 per cent are consuming after work, according to the study.

There was a lot of uncertainty and hype leading up to cannabis legalization last year, but so far, cannabis has not had a noticeable impact on the workplace or on workplace performance,” said Hendrik Steenkamp, HR advisory director for ADP Canada.

“It’s important for every organization to develop proper workplace guidelines and policies, as well as provide training to identify and manage impairment.”

With the legalization of recreational cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals in Canada occurring on October 17 of this year, it is likely that many workplaces will be reviewing and revising their policies regarding cannabis use, he said.

However, 55 per cent of Canadians do not believe this will change their employer’s expectations around impairment.


Related article: What now after legal weed?



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