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HomeNewsAlmost a year after legalization some employers feel cannabis policies are still...

Almost a year after legalization some employers feel cannabis policies are still a little hazy

KAWARTHA LAKES-With the legalization of cannabis nearing the one year mark a new report by the Conference Board of Canada found that while many employers felt they were prepared for legalization some feel more needs to be done.

“Our research looked at employer concerns about cannabis shortly after legalization” says Monica Haberl, a Senior Researcher for the Acting on Cannabis report.  “We found that more than two-thirds of respondents felt they were prepared for legalization—a much higher proportion than just six months before” she says. An impressive 76 per cent of organizations had updated their policies related to cannabis use ahead of legalization, she explains.

The Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17th 2018. One in five organizations says they are concerned about problematic substance use in the workplace (6 per cent being extremely concerned), 60 per cent of organizations say they are not concerned. However 60% do not have a definition of impairment. Some of the top concerns that employers continue to grapple with include workplace accommodations and alcohol and drug testing according to the report.

While considerable work has been done by employers, “not all of the kinks have been ironed out”, cautions Haberl. “The majority of responding organizations don’t have a definition for impairment within their workplace, which means that even though employees know they have to come to work unimpaired, they might not fully understand what that requires.”

Lack of clarity for employees points to areas for continuous improvement such as education programs. “It’s one of the simplest gaps to close. Cannabis education offers a practical approach and can be tailored to suit the needs of safety sensitive workplaces as well as those without serious safety concerns”, says Haberl. According to the survey results, only about a third of organizations in the sample said they would directly provide employees with education or materials on cannabis use.

The Acting on Cannabis act also found fifty-two per cent of highly safety sensitive organizations have introduced zero-tolerance cannabis policies.

More findings will be released at the Cannabis at Work: One Year Later event on October 15th, 2019 in Toronto. The Conference Board of Canada will be releasing further cannabis related research on alcohol and drug testing, medical cannabis, and productivity and engagement in the workplace

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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