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Lack of Education still an issue for Employers

Employers in all sectors are still facing challenges receiving educational information about how to deal with cannabis in the workplace. According to a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) nearly six in ten business owners rank their provincial government’s efforts to educate them as poor or very poor.

“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:

  • 25% 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 per cent 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.

“Many small businesses don’t have an HR department or legal experts on staff so they need help and resources, but too often, their needs are treated as an afterthought when governments rush to introduce major new legislation,” added Kelly. “I advise any business owners that are looking for information to visit cfib.ca/cannabis for tools and resources, including a free workplace drug and alcohol policy template.”