What Should I Do if My Employee Who Uses Medical Cannabis Has a Safety-Sensitive Job?

This is a question we often hear from employers in the construction sector, so let’s start with your duties on the job site, as an employer.

Employers are required to protect workers. When it comes to safety-sensitive jobs, like construction, commercial driving, or handling hazardous materials, an employer should conduct a risk assessment to ensure all potential risks are noted.

Once all risks have been identified, employers need to do three things:

  1. Take steps to eliminate hazards that could endanger an employee 
  2. Minimize risks through the implementation of safety measures
  3. Educate employees and supervisors on risks and safety measures.

"An employer shall ensure that a worker who performs work for the employer completes a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program that meets the requirements set out in subsection (3) as soon as practicable." O. Reg. 297/13, s. 1 (1)

If you are looking to educate your employees on cannabis use in the workplace, you’ve come to the right place! Contact our team at hello@jadeo.co for a cannabis safety consultation.

What do I need to include in my drug policy?

In Ontario, all employers, constructors, and supervisors must follow the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Under OHSA, employers are required to have at least one occupational health and safety policy. It is extremely important to include on-the-job impairment from cannabis in your policy or to have a separate health and safety policy for cannabis.

"17% of Canadians have used cannabis in the past 30 days" -Canadian Cannabis Survey

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada and the growing number of medical cannabis prescriptions, it’s important that workers in safety-sensitive positions also understand the risks and safety measures associated with cannabis.

What should I do if my employee who uses medical cannabis has a safety-sensitive job?

Workers who use medical cannabis should talk to their doctor about fitness for work and the impacts of cannabis on occupational health and safety. Employers should regularly inform employees in safety-sensitive positions about the importance of disclosing the use of any medicine that could lead to impairment in the workplace.

Occupational Health and Safety Policies should be updated at least once a year. This is a great opportunity to remind employees that they should be telling their supervisor about any and all medications they are taking that could cause impairment at work. Ideally, employees should also receive training and education on the importance of avoiding impairment from cannabis or other medications during work hours.

According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, “employers should offer assistance and accommodation before imposing consequences where an employee is impaired on the job or unable to do their essential duties due to cannabis use for a medical purpose related to a disability, or to cannabis addiction.”

Employers in Ontario are responsible for creating policies around cannabis use and working with employees to make sure they understand the policies. As an employer, you’ll also want to work to make sure that employees feel comfortable talking to their supervisors about cannabis and that supervisors feel comfortable talking to employees.

Need help talking to your employees about cannabis? Contact the JADEO team.