A woman smokes a joint. Hundreds showed up at the B.C. Legislature to celebrate the legalization of marijuana in Canada. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

‘Think about impairment in the workplace’ suggests WorkSafeBC

Suggestions for detecting and dealing with cannabis use at work

After the 95-year prohibition on recreational cannabis was lifted in Canada on Oct. 17, some workplaces have created policies on when employees can and can’t light up.

Post-legalization won’t be the first time cannabis use has been a problem in B.C.’s workforce, but Tom Brocklehurst, WorkSafeBC’s director of prevention practices and quality, said they are expecting an increase in on-the-job impairment.

“Cannabis has been part of the landscape in British Columbia for a while, and prior to legalization there’s been a fairly substantial increase in people who use cannabis regularly in the past decade or so,” Brocklehurst said.

The Central Saanich Police, one of the few police departments to create a cannabis policy for staff, said officers can use cannabis, as long as it’s more than 24 hours before a shift.

Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines says the effects of cannabis can last at least six hours, and impair the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.

READ MORE: Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

“The key for us is we’re not expecting employers to find a clinical level of impairment,” Brocklehurst said. “We’re expecting employers to evaluate whether their employees are capable of performing their tasks safely. That’ll depend on the nature of the task and the nature of the worker,” Brocklehurst said.

WorkSafeBC doesn’t require drug testing, but suggests keeping an eye out for symptoms — delayed reaction time, mood swings or personality changes and impaired judgement — and if suspicion arises to do a motor skills test similar to a sobriety test police perform.

“There are limitations with cannabis in terms of how you can actually verify someone’s impaired at the time you take the test because it doesn’t work like alcohol, it metabolizes differently,” he said, adding that workplaces have to be careful not to discriminate against anyone with addictions or who use medically-prescribed drugs that could impair them.

“This is a good time to have employers and workers focus on this better and have them think about impairment in the workplace.”

READ MORE: How schools across Greater Victoria are handling marijuana legalization


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Health Canada suspends Island pot producer’s licence following unannounced visit

Evergreen Medicinal Supply is working on “corrective action”

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Saanich police ask for public’s help locating missing high risk youth

The 12-year-old was last seen before school on Monday morning

Flat tire, kindness of strangers, surprisingly inflate hope

Sooke mom and her daughters knocked on door of Bob and Norma Saunders seeking help

Ogden Point officially rebranded as The Breakwater District

New signage and logos accompany plans for the area’s future

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

Most Read