Ontario Government to Allow Cannabis Smoking Wherever Tobacco Smoking is Permitted: Employer’s Need Policies to Prevent Pot Use During Working Hours

Posted: 28 September 2018

The Ontario government recently tabled Bill 36, the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, which amends the rules regarding the use of cannabis in the province. Of particular significance, Bill 36 repeals the restrictions on places of consumption in the Cannabis Act, 2017 and amends the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 to replace rules respecting the use of “medical cannabis” with rules respecting the use of “cannabis”, which includes recreational cannabis. The result is that workers will be permitted to smoke cannabis, recreational or otherwise, in the same places they may smoke tobacco (other than motor vehicles).

The proposed amendments raise serious concerns for employers without workplace policies explicitly prohibiting the use of drugs during work hours. In the absence of such policies, employees will be permitted to smoke cannabis in non-enclosed areas during work breaks. We recommend that employers review their drug policies to ensure appropriate cannabis restrictions are in place. We will continue to follow developments and provide updates with respect to Ontario’s legal cannabis regime.