Cannabis legalization: Many workplace questions remain for small business

CFIB offers small business owners important compliance tools 

Toronto, October 16, 2018 – On the historic eve of cannabis legalization, small businesses are grappling with a new mess of inconsistent and uneven workplace regulations across the country. As a result, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has developed a series of educational and workplace tools to help employers manage the change.

“Governments had the opportunity to create a clear, modern system for cannabis. Unfortunately, the process of legalization has created more questions than answers for small business owners, on top of everything else, like the federal tax changes and significant changes to labor laws in many provinces,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB’s president. “Small business owners don’t have lawyers or HR specialists on staff, so they need support to prepare for the new reality of legal cannabis. The hundreds of questions we have received on how to address cannabis-related workplace issues provides clear evidence of the uncertainty and need for proper guidance.”

With every province, and even some cities, being asked to develop their own set of rules around the control, distribution and consumption of cannabis before the deadline, business owners have had little time and few resources to prepare. Some of the top questions business owners are asking include:

  • Can cannabis be consumed on their premises?
  • What responsibility do they bear if an impaired employee or customer has an accident onsite?
  • Can they ask employees to submit to a drug test if they have safety concerns?

To ensure small businesses are ready, CFIB has created a suite of tools, including a free webinar, a workplace drug and alcohol policy template and an online course for employers and employees on workplace impairment. All of the resources, with the exclusion of the online course, are publicly available at

“Nearly 3,000 business owners have taken part in one of our webinars to date,” added Kelly. “They want to be prepared and compliant come October 17. Though governments have so far failed to give them the proper tools, CFIB is here to help them and answer their questions.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at