Pubdate: Thu, 26 Oct 2017
Source: Metro (Toronto, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Brian Fitzpatrick
Page: 4


Employers plan for workers using cannabis recreationally

As Canada edges toward full legalization next year, businesses are
trying to determine how to deal with employees' use of recreational

Bill Duncan of Cannamm Occupational Testing Services, which offers
employment drug testing and other occupational health mentoring, is
hosting a seminar in Mississauga on Nov. 7 to help bosses adapt to the
shifting landscape.

"Most companies have a policy on alcohol, even though it is legal.
They're now realizing that they're going to have to look at something
similar for marijuana," Duncan said.

Much will have to change; Duncan gave the simple example of a
workplace "Alcohol and Illegal Substances" policy that will no longer
cover cannabis in the same way, in terms of consumption and possession.

"Another (issue) is impairment at work," he said. "How that is
determined, and what the ramifications are for the employee. Would a
drug test be involved, and what would determine when that will be used?"

Taking its lead from the federal government, the province will provide
its own set of workplace resource guides to employers. However, these
have not yet been set in stone, Duncan said, and details are thin.

By next year, employers will no longer be able to put the brakes on
their employees' use of the drug outside of work hours. As for during
work hours, controversy has raged over adequate testing as well as
what is and isn't a safe level of intoxication. Not to mention, bosses
are already grappling with how to fairly accommodate medical marijuana
use on the job.

Alison McMahon, CEO of staffing agency Cannabis at Work, said the
cut-off levels of cannabis in a work setting are typically five
nanograms per millilitre of oral fluid and 50 per millilitre of urine.

McMahon warned employers against testing for "impairment."

"It's really important, the language chosen," she said, adding that
even then she expects workers to challenge their employers' take on
their cannabis use.

"Do not write policy around impairment," she suggested. "Write it
around a cut-off point. That's defendable. Trying to say that somebody
is impaired is going to be a nightmare."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt