Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How Canada’s marijuana legislation will affect employers - THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Originally published: April 17, 2017
Publisher: GlobeandMail.com 

When recreational marijuana users gather on April 20 for Cannabis Day, they will have something else to celebrate: much anticipated legislation which decriminalizes marijuana in Canada. Last Thursday, the federal Liberal government tabled the Cannabis Act. While this legislation sets out the path forward for legalizing recreational marijuana, the responsibility for more detailed laws relating to distribution and sale will rest with the provinces. All of these moving parts are expected to come together by July, 2018.

In the meantime, Canadian employers have questions about how to respond to this changing legal landscape. This uncertainty also extends, to a somewhat lesser degree, to the Canadian judicial system. Coincidentally, on April 3, 2017, an Ontario Superior Court judge declined to grant an injunction striking down a random drug testing policy sought by the union representing employees of the Toronto Transit Commission.

Are we at a point now where more liberal attitudes toward recreational marijuana use in society will be balanced by a more conservative approach in Canadian workplaces and courts? It is too early to tell.