Cannabis Legalization One Year In

Could this be the reason Justin Trudeau only managed a minority government this past election? Likely not, but employers are still facing challenges related to cannabis in the workplace a year into legalization. In fact, nearly six in 10 business owners rank their provincial government’s efforts to educate them as poor or very poor, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Cannabis legalization posed some major new challenges for employers, especially in industries where the safety of employees or customers is a concern. 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,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “We’re finding that provincial governments still have not done a great job of informing employers of their responsibilities, relevant rules and regulations, as well as the resources available to them.” 

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%).

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. 
  • 32% listed CFIB as a primary source of information, while 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.

The survey received responses from more than 5,000 small businesses across Canada.

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