PSHSA is working with Ontario employers, supervisors and workers to provide information on cannabis and applicable legislation. Some of the areas we are assisting with are around accommodation and suggested control measures for the workplace.

PSHSA has partnered with McMillan LLP a leading business law firm serving public, private and not-for-profit clients across key industries in Canada, the United States and internationally. As the use of medical marijuana in Ontario continues to increase, employers will need to make changing and updating workplace policies a leading priority.

What Ontario legislation applies?

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC), employers are required to accommodate workers who have a disability up to the point of undue hardship.  This accommodation extends to disabled workers prescribed the use of medical cannabis.  The use of medical cannabis, however, does not permit the worker to be impaired at work or endanger their safety or the safety of others. In other words, the requirement to accommodate disabled workers does not equate to being required to allow for unsafe work. There are approximately 18.4 million workers in Canada of which a significant proportion work in safety-sensitive industries such as agriculture, forestry, construction, healthcare and transportation.  According to market data from Health Canada, at the end of June 2017 there were a total of 86,196 active client registrations with a licensed cannabis producer in Ontario, with 201,398 active client registrations for the same time period Canada-wide. Employers must be proactive and have a plan to respond accordingly.

Learn more from our PSHSA Medical Cannabis Fast Fact.

As well, PSHSA offers a Two-Part Series Webinar on Medical Marijuana. Part 1 provides basic information on cannabinoids, an overview of medical marijuana in Canada, applicable legislation and how it may impact the workplace. Part 2 provides more in depth information on:

  • Legal Framework
  • Duty to accommodate: Why Does This Matter?
  • Accommodation – How Do Employees Request It?
  • Accommodation Process – What Steps Should be Followed
  • Accommodation and Medical Marijuana – What Risks are Anticipated
  • Traps and Tips – What Special Approaches Arise?
  • Summary of Recommendations

Black Market to Blue Chip
This webinar is part of the PSHSA and Ministry of Labour’s Future of Prevention Webinar Series. This presentation looks at an intersection of current trends and the growing cannabis innovation ecosystem, including public safety and public health concerns, workplace challenges and economic implications.

marijuana in the workplace presentation cover

PSHSA participated in an expert panel on Cannabis in the Workplace at The HRPA 2018 Annual Conference and Trade Show. Kim Slade, Director of Emerging Markets and Commercialization reviewed workplace concerns, legislation, types of policies that can be implemented along with 5 tips to developing a workplace policy.


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Other resources

Darryl Hiscocks of Torys LLP believes murkiness over marijuana use in the workplace will become a legal battleground, especially as legalization will remove the stigma associated with pot use. Read more as he explores employers grave concerns over the ability to detect and enforce marijuana in the workplace.

Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Magazine reviews how recreational cannabis use is set to become legal by July 1, 2018, pending the passing of Bill C-45. Marijuana sees a wider social acceptance today, and many researchers agree that pot is no more harmful and less addictive than alcohol and nicotine, which have almost always been legal.

HOWATT: Cannabis in the workplace requires some planning

HOWATT: Does cannabis use increase the risk for performance complacency in the workplace?

Eight ways to prepare your organization for the legalization of marijuana

Cannabis legalization – Learn What Will and Won’t be Legal in Ontario

Impairment and Workplace Health and Safety

A Review of Workplace Substance Use Policies in Canada: Strengths, Gaps and Key Considerations

Public Opinion Barometer Analysis from

How Canada’s Marijuana legislation will affect employers

Five tips for employers creating a Marijuana Policy at work

Accommodating Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

Legal Marijuana is Going to Change the Canadian Workplace

Information for Health Care Professionals: Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) and the Cannabinoids

Ontario Preparing for Federal Cannabis Legalization

Many questions need examining to establish effects of legalized cannabis on work safety

71% of Employers not Prepared for Legalization of Marijuana, According to HRPA, Business of Cannabis & Public Services Health & Safety Association Survey

“Clearing the Haze” – The Impacts of Marijuana in the Workplace

CSA Group – Workplace policies on substance use

In the coming months PSHSA will be working to formulate a sector wide approach to work with employers on helping them develop workplace policies, strategies and risk assessments related to the legalization of cannabis. In the meantime inquiries can be directed to Kim Slade, Director Emerging Markets and Commercialization:

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