Kelowna Employer Forum Recap – Preparing your Business for Legal Marijuana (January 2018)

Tiffany Zanatta
Tiffany Zanatta

By Tiffany Zanatta.

As part of its commitment to supporting employers in their efforts to create healthy, thriving workplaces, Kent Employment Law introduced its Employer Forum series, an in-house resource for forward-thinking business owners and HR professionals. Offered in both Vancouver and Kelowna, these breakfast events are an opportunity for employers to learn from the experts and connect with their peers on topics ranging from hiring to firing.

Our most recent Kelowna Forum took place on January 16, 2018 and explored issues relating to the legalization of marijuana and its impact on the workplace. Lawyer David Brown facilitated the conversation with local HR leader Alison Crick, Human Resources Director at Silver Star Mountain Resort, which offered various insights from the perspectives of human resources, the law and business owners about how the pending legislative changes will affect different areas on the job.

For those of you who weren’t able to join us, here are the top 3 takeaways from the event:

  1. While circumstances may be changing, the rules stay the same. Employers’ existing obligations in terms of occupational health and safety, human rights and the duty to accommodate are not changing, they are simply being applied to new circumstances. The legalization of marijuana does not change basic prohibitions on being impaired at work.
  2. Employers need to have clear policies in place regarding drugs and alcohol. Policies are used to manage your staff’s expectations. If you have an existing drug and alcohol policy, revisit it to make sure it covers recreational and medical marijuana. If you don’t, it’s time to implement one.
  3. Educating staff is key. Having a policy on drug and alcohol use is not enough. Employees need to know and understand what is expected of them. Employers should consider in-house training programs and including education on drug and alcohol use as part of your new-hire orientation.

Our next Kelowna Employer’s Forum, focusing on the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace, will be happening soon. Watch our Event page for updates!

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