With the legalization of cannabis on October 17th of this year, organizations across Canada need to take 3 key steps to assure they are actively promoting a safe workplace and minimizing liability. These steps include, updating your drug and alcohol policy, training employees, and actively promoting prevention and awareness.
Far too often we hear executives say, “We’re covered, we have a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY”, then when we follow up with, “What exactly does that mean?” they stumble with the answer. They stumble because they’re dealing with a complex and frustrating new reality. This is just one other thing executives need to deal with, and not everyone has the time or resources to address it properly.
Addition questions to the “Zero Tolerance” statement include:
- Is it Zero Tolerance for all positions or just safety sensitive positions?
- How does that impact employees who have an authorization for medical cannabis?
- Are employees allowed to drink alcohol at company meetings or events?
- If yes, can they now smoke marijuana in these situations after October 17th?
- If an employee smokes marijuana on Friday night and is tested on the following Thursday, they may test positive for THC even though they’re not impaired. What’s the proper way to respond to this?
- Do employees truly understand the organization’s definition of Zero Tolerance?
- Is it Zero Tolerance for drugs and alcohol, or for workplace impairment?
- Is there a standardized definition (like Fit For Duty or Fit To Work) in place to define what condition an employee should be in at work?
- Are executives, managers, and supervisors trained on impairment awareness?
- Do they understand employer and employee rights and responsibilities?
- Do they know how to properly handle an impairment related situation so costly legal mistakes are not made?
- Do they understand cannabis and how different strains affect the mind and body?
The point we’re trying to make is that simply updating your drug and alcohol policy, saying your organization has a Zero Tolerance policy and sending your employees a “memo” is not enough, and leaves the door open for all kinds of potential headaches.
Taking it one step further and implementing a training program and executing an internal prevention and awareness campaign does cost a bit more money and take a bit more time but the investment upfront can save you massive amounts of time and money spent on workplace incidents and possibly legal issues down the road.
So, to be clear, yes, we sell a solution that helps organizations address this new reality of cannabis legalization and yes, we have a biased opinion, but the point is whether it is our solution, or an alternative, we highly recommend that you save yourself time, money, and headaches by not ignoring the impact this will have on your workplace.
October 17th, 2018 will be here sooner than you think. The time to act is now!