On October 11, 2018, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a new policy statement that provides guidance for employers related to recreational cannabis and human rights issues in the workplace. The policy statement reminds employers that Ontario’s Human Rights Code only applies in circumstances where the employee: (i) uses cannabis for a disability-related purpose, and/or (ii) is addicted to cannabis use.

The new policy statement also confirms the following key points:

  • employers can generally expect employees to be free from cannabis impairment while at work;
  • employers have a legal duty to accommodate the disability-related needs of employees who consume medical cannabis or those who are addicted to cannabis;
  • employers who have employees in safety-sensitive positions should regularly remind employees to notify the employer if the employee is using a drug that could impair their ability to perform their job duties; and
  • employers should avoid implementing workplace policies that automatically discipline employees for failing to notify the employer about disability-related cannabis use or a cannabis addiction.