____Posted Tuesday July 11 2017 ____
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Human Resources

Employers Concerned About the Impact that Legalization of Marijuana Will Have on the Workplace: HRPA

With less than one year until the legalization of marijuana in Canada, a new study reveals that employers feel unprepared for the impact the increased drug use may have on the workplace. In a survey answered by over 650 Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) members between June 1 and June 9, 2017, over 45 per cent of respondents do not believe their current workplace policies adequately address the potential new issues that may arise with the legalization and expected increased use of marijuana.

"Employers are concerned, and both governments and employers have a role to play to ensure workplaces are properly prepared for the legalization of marijuana on July 1, 2018," said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO, HRPA. "Governments must ensure that issues such as the legal definition of impairment, and how to accurately test those levels, are resolved before the legalization date. On the other hand, employers must continually update and communicate their current drug policies to employees so expectations are clear.

"We have heard from Human Resources Professionals that strict policies and government guidelines will be critically important to safety-sensitive workplaces."

In the new whitepaper entitled Clearing the Haze: The Impacts of Marijuana on the Workplace, HRPA makes 10 recommendations to governments and employers to ensure that they are prepared for the increased use of marijuana and the affects that will inevitably have on the workplace. These recommendations include that the government maintain two regulatory streams for medical and recreational cannabis, and ensuring employers are prepared to answer questions about coverage of medical marijuana in their extended health care plans.

"While a year may sound like a lot to prepare for the legalization of marijuana, we are urging employers to act now. In terms of legalization on a broad scale, Canada is in uncharted territory," Greenhalgh concluded. "The sooner employers can communicate clear policies to employees, the better."

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