Canadian Manufacturing

Employers still face cannabis-related challenges, a year after legalization

by CMO Staff   

Canadian Manufacturing
Financing Human Resources Regulation Risk & Compliance Alcohol & Cannabis Public Sector

Canadian Federation of Independent Business feels the pulse a year after legalization, and offers resources that will help SMEs understand and cope

PHOTO: Legal cannabis/Cannabis Tours

Toronto – Employers are still facing challenges related to cannabis in the workplace a year into legalization, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). In fact, nearly six in 10 business owners rank their provincial government’s efforts to educate them as poor or very poor.

“Cannabis legalization posed some major new challenges for employers, especially in industries where the safety of employees or customers is a concern,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “We warned governments in the lead-up to legalization that their education efforts were severely lacking. A year in, and as new products become available, it doesn’t look like it’s gotten much better.”

Kelly said that provincial governments fall short of informing employers of their responsibilities, relevant rules and regulations, as well as the resources available to them.

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Only 8% of surveyed businesses had experienced a cannabis-related incident in the workplace since October 17, 2018, but that number rises to 22% for businesses with 100 to 499 employees, according to the preliminary data. Businesses in hospitality were most likely to report having had an incident (16 per cent).

The survey also found that:

  • Only a quarter of businesses list their provincial government as a primary source of information related to cannabis in the workplace.
  • 48% did not have a primary source of information.
  • 59% of those who had a primary source of information felt better equipped to deal with cannabis in the workplace.
  • 34% of businesses do not have a drug and alcohol policy in place.

“Many small businesses don’t have an HR department or legal experts on staff so they need help and resources, but too often, their needs are treated as an afterthought when governments rush to introduce major new legislation,” said Kelly.

Read the full preliminary survey results for more details.

Visit for tools and resources, including a free workplace drug and alcohol policy template.


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