Employers are shocked the law will not regulate marijuana use in the workplace.

Employers are shocked the law will not regulate marijuana use in the workplace.
Photo Credit: Mark Blinch/Reuters

Employers anxious about marijuana in the workplace

The Canadian government will soon legalize the recreational use of marijuana but employers say it has failed to take steps to prevent its use in the workplace.

Employers in Canada are legally obliged to ensure the safety of their workers, yet they are not usually allowed to do random tests to make sure employees are not impaired by drugs or alcohol. That leaves them between a rock and a hard place.

Research suggests that more people are coming to work having used drugs or alcohol.
Research suggests that more people are coming to work having used drugs or alcohol. © Shutterstock

‘Shocking and discouraging’ for employers

“They (legislators) are moving to legalize marijuana, but they’re not dealing with the safety issue in the workplace,” says Norm Keith a partner at the law firm Fasken Martineau and the author of a book on alcohol and drugs in the workplace.

“It’s quite shocking and discouraging for a lot of employers that this is going to become a bigger challenge and problem for them on the one hand, but that the federal government seems to ignore their concerns on the other.”

Listen

More impaired employees this year

Every year 900 people die in workplace accidents in Canada and among them 35 to 40 per cent are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the law firm’s research.

The research also suggests that the number of impaired employees has gone up compared to last year. Keith also points out that in the first year after the U.S. state of Colorado legalized marijuana drug-related fatalities increased by 235 per cent.

Employers are asking the Canadian government to include workplace safety measures in its law to legalize marijuana. But Keith says it looks increasingly like the federal government will not do that, but will leave it up to the provincial governments to make rules.

Government approach called ‘irresponsible’

He says it’s as though federal legislators are saying “‘It’s not my job. I’m going to legalize it. I’m going to create mayhem and chaos in workplaces and on the roads and, provinces, you can deal with the problem and pay for the bills associated with that mayhem.’ So, it’s an irresponsible approach.”

What employers can do

Without government regulations in place, Keith is advising employers to so three things:

-set a policy of zero tolerance for drugs

-train their employees on the policy, dangers and consequences of not adhering to it

-enforce the policy

Says Keith; “safety really is everybody’s responsibility. Employers have to enforce safety rules for their own sake but also for the workers.”

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Politics, Society, Work & Labour

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Employers anxious about marijuana in the workplace
  1. Blanche Dumont says:

    One question: do your employees smoke cigarette at work? No! In fact they are not supposed to so there will be the same rule but the fact is I agree there should be a law that forbid the drug on brake time, smoking marijuana should not be permitted at work, driving, in cafe and park, in hotels and bar, on street, people who want to smoke should do it at home. and yes it should be a law that is put in place by each province. The follow up will then be easier.