Making Your Workplace Ready for Cannabis Legalization

Steps to Update Your Employer Policies

  1. Update your workplace policy
  2. Update your Code of Conduct, especially if you already refer to alcohol and prescription drug use and impairment.
  3. Train your HR team and/or managers to recognize impairment, create a safe workplace, and perform workplace investigations in relation to incidents.
  4. Explore your group benefit package to determine your coverage associated with medical marijuana. Many group insurers have not included medical marijuana in their coverage, and yet by prescription, this may change. Currently, Sunlife Insurance include any type of medical marijuana in their group benefits while Loblaw Corp. covers medical marijuana up to $1,500 per year only for employees with multiple sclerosis symptoms and those experiencing the effects of chemotherapy.
  5. Be clear about your company’s expectations. For example, if you have a sales force taking clients for lunch and they are permitted to enjoy an alcoholic beverage together, you may wish to discuss and clarify your employer position on using cannabis with clients. You may also want to address office parties and business conferences in the same respect. (Again, let’s reiterate that the use of cannabis will be restricted to private residences and thus, the law dictates that your employees will not likely be using cannabis at a client networking event, however, employers may be asked questions about legalization and workplace activities. The answer for now is that cannabis is restricted to homes/residences). We expect that there may be other places where forms of cannabis will be sold and ingestion will be permitted.

Sample Workplace Policy Statement

“Employees are expected to report to work and be able to perform their duties safely. Employees should not be impaired by the effects of alcohol, medications, cannabis or any other substance that may impair judgement or performance.”

– Emond Harnden Law Offices

What will legalization look like?

What are the legal quantities?
Canadians will be able possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in public and grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household. You can also prepare various cannabis products (such as edibles) at home for personal use.

How can you purchase?
Individuals 19 years and older will be able to purchase cannabis online at OntarioCannabisStore ( The buyer will have to receive the delivery in person and show ID, and packages won’t be left at the door.

Where can you use it?
Recreational cannabis can only be used in a private residence. In apartments/condos, it can be used in your unit or balcony if your lease agreement allows it, while hotels will be able to determine their own respective rules. Cannabis cannot be used in public spaces, workplaces and motorized vehicles.

What are the fines?
Using cannabis in public is subject to a fine of $1,000 for a first offence and $5,000 of subsequent offences.

Additional Resources for More Information

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