Cannabis and Workplace Safety
Can I be "high" at work?
No. Cannabis legalization does not mean employees can consume cannabis while working. You do not have the right to recreationally use cannabis or be impaired at work, and employers’ policies on workplace impairment will remain in effect. Remember: cannabis can impair your ability to operate vehicles or equipment safely, and you must ensure that you do not endanger the health, safety, or physical well-being of yourself or others in the workplace.
Even in instances where workplace impairment policies are absent, arbitrators will likely find that employees who become impaired while at work can be disciplined and, depending on the circumstances, terminated.
With that said, if your employer has introduced or updated a policy regarding drugs and impairment in the workplace, and you have questions about the policy and how it might affect you, contact UFCW Canada and we will help you assess your rights.
Does using cannabis impact workplace health and safety?
Yes. Anyone working while impaired may put themselves and others at risk.
Can I be subjected to random drug testing at work?
In most workplaces in Canada, employers are prohibited from performing random drug tests. Drug and alcohol testing are generally restricted to safety-sensitive job roles and sites – like police forces and transit authorities – where impaired work might endanger the lives of others.
What is my role in workplace health and safety?
As an employee, your role is to:
- Always work in a safe manner;
- Discuss with your supervisor anything that might impair your ability to work safely (medical or non-medical);
- Follow workplace policy, education, and training; and
- Report concerns to your supervisor.
I work in the cannabis industry. How can I protect my health and safety at work?
There are numerous occupational hazards that cannabis workers encounter on the job. To help workers identify potential health and safety risks at work, UFCW has compiled a comprehensive list of common occupations and hazards in cannabis production and distribution (PDF).
Ideally your employer will have taken steps to address the hazards identified in the document above. However, if you feel that your health and safety is being compromised at work, and that your employer could be doing more to keep people safe, you should consider joining the union.
With UFCW in your corner, you and your colleagues will be able to negotiate a legally binding collective agreement that clearly outlines health and safety standards for your workplace. If your employer fails to follow these standards, you will have the option of taking corrective action through a workplace health and safety committee, or the grievance procedure.
Are you ready for change at work? Are you ready for better wages, benefits, and health and safety standards? Find out how you can join the union here.