Cannabis use is becoming increasingly popular as both Canadian provinces and US states roll back restrictions on cannabis for medical or recreational purposes.
Regular cannabis use, however, should be taken into consideration when you’re searching for a new job. Canadian employers are required to consider the impacts of impairment from any substances, including cannabis.
Here’s what to keep in mind if you’re a medical or recreational cannabis user and you’re looking for a new job.
Employers have a legal responsibility to keep workplaces safe.
Safety in the workplace is a key concern for employers, as accidents and injuries reduce productivity and disrupt workplace schedules. In federally-regulated workplaces, employers must protect worker health and safety, address hazards, and create a hazard prevention program.
Hazard prevention programs often include policies on the use of substances that can impair workers on the job – including cannabis. Check workplace policies if you have questions about cannabis use and work.
Employees share the responsibility to keep workplaces safe, too.
The responsibility to keep workers safe on the job belongs to employees as well as employers. As an employee in a Canadian workplace, you have a responsibility to work safely, to understand how impairment by cannabis or other substances can undermine your safety, and to follow employer instructions about safety – including reporting instructions about whether you’re too impaired to do a job safely.
Understanding how cannabis might affect your safety on the job is a must, whether you’re looking for a new role or are already working.
Employers may also have a duty to accommodate cannabis use in some instances.
The Canadian Human Rights Act requires employers to accommodate workers with disabilities, injuries, or diseases, including those that are currently being treated with medical cannabis. Accommodation need not produce an “undue hardship” for the employer, however. An employment lawyer can help answer specific questions about your medical cannabis use or other medical needs.
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