Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jan 2017
Source: Metro (Edmonton, CN AB)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Kevin Maimann
Page: A1


Local businesses concerned over medical marijuana in the workplace

Edmonton's Chamber of Commerce is developing a policy to deal with medical
marijuana in the workplace as concerns mount among employers and workers.

Some workers have spoken out to say they've been treated unfairly at work
because of their prescription to the substance, and last week Canada's
biggest law firm named medical pot as one of 2017's Top 10 business risks.

"We are in the process right now of talking to experts and formulating
some recommendations to put forward," said Janet Riopel, the Chamber's
president and CEO. "We're trying to work on this as quickly as possible."

Riopel said Edmonton business owners have told her they are worried about
workplace safety and how to deal with employees who might be impaired from
using medical pot.

She said the federal task force recommendations on marijuana legalization
did not address workplace safety to the extent she had hoped, leaving many
policy decisions up to individual businesses and groups like the chamber
of commerce.

One of their chief concerns is the lack of a test to reliably determine
intoxication levels.

"Many see marijuana as incompatible with working in a safety sensitive
workplace," Riopel said.

"This is what we're hearing from our members - employer rights, employee
rights, and how to ensure that we can provide the kind of input that's
needed to make sure that worker and workplace safety are not compromised."

She expects a framework to be completed early this year.

Law firm Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) included medical marijuana in its Top
10 Legal Risks for Business in 2017 report last week, and BLG Duncan
Marsden said it will be especially tricky for jobs using heavy machinery.

"This is obviously concerning for employers on a number of levels,"
Marsden said. "There are serious issues with dealing with medical
marijuana, both from a human rights and a privacy perspective."
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