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Entre l’obligation d’accommodement et milieu de travail sécuritaire : un équilibre difficile à atteindre pour les employeurs à l’ère du cannabis médical

Le 17 octobre prochain marquera le deuxième anniversaire de la légalisation du cannabis récréatif au Canada. Bien que cette réalité fasse maintenant partie de notre quotidien, différentes questions liées à la consommation de cette substance demeurent, notamment en matière d’emploi.

L’une d’entre elles a récemment été abordée par la Cour d’appel de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador[1] et peut se résumer ainsi : que doit faire un employeur lorsqu’un salarié désirant occuper un poste pouvant mettre en jeu sa sécurité et celle de ses collègues consomme du cannabis à des fins médicales sur une base quotidienne?

La décision

Dans cette affaire où le … Continue Reading

Lack of Effective Cannabis Impairment Testing – What is an Employer to Do?

In a recent decision from Newfoundland and Labrador, the court upheld an arbitrator’s decision that an employer had the right to refuse to employ an employee because of cannabis use.

The employee had 30 years of service as a labourer on construction projects in the province.  He had worked on a hydro project that involved safety sensitive work.

Unfortunately, over the last 10 years he suffered from pain due to osteoarthritis and Crohns disease.  He had a prescription for the use of cannabis.  He used cannabis on a daily basis and his dosage was described as high.  The employer refused … Continue Reading

Cannabis and the U.S. border – a complex relationship

Recreational cannabis will become legal in Canada effective October 17, 2018.  However, taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis (whether medicinal or recreational) across Canada’s international borders will remain illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both domestically and abroad.  This prohibition applies equally to individuals travelling to or from a jurisdiction where cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized.

Cannabis is illegal in most countries.  As such, the Government of Canada has warned that previous use of cannabis, or any substance prohibited by local law, could result in a traveller’s being denied entry to their destination country.

In addition, … Continue Reading

La présomption d’innocence peut-elle s’opposer au licenciement d’un salarié fondé sur des faits visés par une procédure pénale ?

La Cour de cassation a été saisie d’un dossier concernant un salarié de la société Euro Disney, qui avait été licencié à la suite de la découverte, par son employeur, et dans le cadre d’une enquête pénale, du fait que celui-ci avait acheté à l’un de ses collègues des stupéfiants.

En effet, au printemps 2012, une procédure d’instruction avait été ouverte pour rechercher des faits d’infraction à la législation sur les stupéfiants au sein du parc d’attraction. Plusieurs salariés avaient alors été mis en cause. Dans le cadre de cette procédure pénale, la société Euro Disney s’était constituée partie civile, … Continue Reading

One step closer to legalization

On April 13th, the federal Liberal government tabled the much anticipated Cannabis Act. While many recreational marijuana users now have reason to rejoice, employers across the country are left with unanswered questions as to how the upcoming legalization will affect the workplace.

It’s important to note that although recreational use of cannabis is expected to become legal sometime during the summer of 2018, employees will still be required to show up « fit to work ». Therefore, it will remain possible for employers to discipline employees who are impaired by the use of marijuana while at work – with … Continue Reading

The latest from the Fair Work Commission on drug and alcohol policy breaches

Last month, the Fair Work Commission upheld a decision to dismiss an employee for breaching its zero tolerance policy on illicit drugs, confirming the importance of having a clear drug and alcohol policy that is effectively communicated and consistently applied.

The employer, Coles Group Supply Chain Pty Ltd (Coles), summarily dismissed Shane Clayton who tested positive to cannabis, in breach of Coles’ drug and alcohol policy, which clearly stipulated cut-off levels of alcohol intake and a zero tolerance to illicit drugs for any person employed “at any Coles Distribution Centre in any position.”[1]

Whilst the fairness of … Continue Reading

Managing Medical Marijuana in the Workplace in Canada

Federal regulations permit access to marijuana for medical purposes, and the use of marijuana can become a complicated issue in the workplace. Importantly, the Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that patients approved under the regulations should have access to all forms of cannabis products, including edible or topical cannabis products, as opposed to only marijuana in dried form. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, and given the health risks associated with smoking, employees who are medically authorized to use marijuana may choose to rely on alternative means of administering their doses, such as by brewing marijuana leaves in tea … Continue Reading

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