Legalized Cannabis Does Not Mean It’s Allowed at Work

Nearly one year after cannabis legalization in Canada, a new study from Ipsos, commissioned by ADP Canada, reveals most Canadian workplaces don’t allow recreational cannabis before, during and after work. Most working Canadians (86%) say their employer does not permit recreational cannabis use and only a fraction (8%) say cannabis use is allowed during the workday. These findings are in line with a similar study conducted in 2018, where 6% of Canadians thought they would be allowed to use cannabis during work hours or before coming to work.

The study found that recreational cannabis had a smaller-than-expected impact on workplace performance. Most Canadians believe recreational cannabis has had no impact at work in terms of health and safety incidents (75%), productivity (74%) absenteeism (71%) or quality of work (70%). Within the small number of working Canadians (8%) who say their employer allows the use of recreational cannabis, 63% are consuming it before work, 47% are consuming during work hours and 72% are consuming after work (72%).

“There was a lot of uncertainty and hype leading up to cannabis legalization last year, but so far, cannabis has not had a noticeable impact on the workplace or on workplace performance,” said Hendrik Steenkamp, Director, HR Advisory, ADP Canada. “Although only a fraction of Canadian workplaces allow cannabis during the workday, it’s important for every organization to develop proper workplace guidelines and policies, as well as provide training to identify and manage impairment.”

With the legalization of recreational cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals in Canada occurring on October 17, it is likely that many workplaces will be reviewing and revising their policies regarding cannabis use. However, over half of Canadians (55%) say they do not believe this impending legalization will change their employer’s expectations around impairment. Managers (37%) are more likely than non-managers (23%) to expect a change in their employer’s expectations. Regionally, this opinion is most prevalent in Alberta (35%), Ontario (33%), and British Columbia, and least held in the Prairies (17%) or Atlantic Canada (20%).

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