What Ontario legislation applies?
There are various pieces of legislation that apply to the legalization of Cannabis including:
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act – Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule II drug. (Gov of Canada – Justice Laws, 1996). This means that it has a high potential for abuse, but has a valid medical application.
Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) – Medicinal cannabis is available to all Canadians as long as they have an authorization from their doctor for a valid medical condition.
Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) – This will legalize the use and sale of recreational cannabis. In Ontario, you must be at least 19 years old to purchase cannabis when it becomes legal to do so. According to the Act, “No person shall consume cannabis in a public place, a workplace within the meaning of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a vehicle or boat. Medicinal cannabis users are subject to any prohibitions or restrictions set out under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017”
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Bill C-46) – This will add in new criminal offences regarding cannabis use, including drug-impaired driving charges.
The Smoke Free Ontario Act was repealed and replaced with Bill 174 – Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017 This Act will forbid smoking cannabis in public spaces, similar to tobacco. However, since it’s not in effect yet, it may be adopted by employers as best practice until it is enacted.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25(2)(h), employers must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. (Weir & Pennell, 2017) (Gov of Ontario , 2018) (PSHSA, 2018). This includes your due diligence as an employer to protect your workers and provide a safe working environment from safety risks due to cannabis impairment.
Driving under the influence – even if you use cannabis medicinally, if a substance has impaired your ability to drive or operate a vehicle, it is illegal for you to be driving