Legalization of Cannabis – One Year Later, Where Are the Employers?

One year after the legalization of cannabis in Canada, a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) provides an update on the state of this (new) reality in the workplace.

Disorganized – this is how many Canadian entrepreneurs feel about the legalization of cannabis, one year after the law came into force. At least that’s what is revealed by the preliminary results of the recent survey by the CFIB, the country’s largest group of small and medium enterprises (SME).

According to the survey, this confusion is explained in part by the lack of information and government resources available to entrepreneurs. In fact, the data collected by the CFIB indicates that close to 60% of company owners interviewed find that the provincial government has deployed insufficient or very insufficient efforts to inform them about this issue.

Specific help
Of course, information on cannabis management is available on the Quebec government website, but the CFIB deplores the fact that none of them specifically target entrepreneurs. “Is it necessary to be reminded that SME owners, in addition to filling many roles within their company, generally do not have human resources departments or legal experts? As a result, many lack the time to learn about this law and find themselves helpless in the face of the various challenges it generates,” explains Gopinath Jeyabalaratnam, CFIB adviser on economic and government affairs.

Major challenges
As the expert explains, one of the main challenges for entrepreneurs is the management of employees who, due to their consumption of cannabis (whether regular or not), are likely to affect workplace safety and the company’s productivity. “Many employers say they don’t know what to do in this situation. Do they have the right to require a screening test? Should they have a drugs and alcohol policy? What punitive measures can they apply? These are questions that the government should have foreseen and which it must know provide answers for.”

Take action now
It is all the more important for the government to equip SME owners, as the survey shows that just over a third of entrepreneurs do not have a policy on drugs and alcohol. “Yet such a policy ensures that employers and employees work under common rules,” says Gopinath Jeyabalaratnam. That said, the data reveals that only 8% of respondents have experienced cannabis-related incidents in the past year. Although this percentage is not alarming (yet), should we expect it to become actionable? To ask the question is to answer it.

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