Policy statement on cannabis and the Ontario Human Rights Code

We have been flooded with info on the new Cannabis legalization (as I’m sure you have too), on issues from the HR, legal, liability and costs to everyones opinion on how it should be dealt with in the workplace.

I thought this might be a good piece to share (being from Human Rights and all) as it gives some examples and talks about the Employer Duty to Accommodate.

Cannabis or “marijuana” laws are changing in Canada.[1] It will now be legal for people age 19 or older in Ontario to buy, possess, use and grow recreational cannabis. Provincial laws generally permit cannabis use wherever laws permit tobacco use.[2] Cannabis use for a medical purpose (medical cannabis) continues to be legal.

Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policies[3] apply to cannabis in the same way they do for other drugs. The Code protects people who use cannabis for a medical purpose related to a disability from discriminatory treatment in employment, housing, services and other areas. The Code also prohibits discrimination against people who have or are perceived to have an addiction to cannabis based on the ground of disability.

People who use cannabis for a medical purpose related to a disability, and people addicted to cannabis, also have the right to disability-related accommodation to the point of undue hardship – that is, significant health and safety risks or excessive costs. People seeking accommodation related to cannabis use because of a disability may need to provide medical or other information to support their needs. Employees who use cannabis because of a disability may need to provide information verifying their fitness for work.