Ontario Human Rights Commission releases updated policy ahead of cannabis legalization

October 16, 2018
Article Source
Global News

Employers are required to do what they can to accommodate medical marijuana users as well as those addicted to pot but that doesn't give employees carte blanche to show up at work stoned, Ontario's Human Rights Commission said on Thursday.

In its updated policy guidance ahead of next week's legalization of recreational weed, the commission says employers can expect workers to be sober at work, particularly in safety-sensitive jobs.


"Accommodation does not necessarily require employers to permit cannabis impairment on the job," the document states. "The duty to accommodate ends if the person cannot ultimately perform the essential duties of the job after accommodation has been tried and exhausted, or if undue hardship would result."

Ultimately, the commission said, the looming change in the law has no impact when it comes to human rights.

"The legalization of cannabis is a new reality in Ontario," Renu Mandhane, the province's chief commissioner, said in a release. "But while cannabis laws are changing, this policy statement reminds us that human rights protections for people with disabilities or addictions are the same."

As is currently the case involving alcohol or other drugs, the rights code protects people with disabilities who use cannabis for a medical purpose from harassment and other discriminatory treatment in employment, housing and service delivery.

However, a provincial ban on smoking tobacco in enclosed spaces at work applies equally to smoking or vaping marijuana - whether medical or recreational.

Read more: Ontario Human Rights Commission releases updated policy ahead of cannabis legalization