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Employers still face cannabis-related challenges, a year after legalization

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Toronto, October 17, 2019 – Employers are still facing challenges related to cannabis in the workplace a year into legalization, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). In fact, nearly six in 10 business owners rank their provincial government’s efforts to educate them as poor or very poor.

“Cannabis legalization posed some major new challenges for employers, especially in industries where the safety of employees or customers is a concern. We warned governments in the lead-up to legalization that their education efforts were severely lacking. A year in, and as new products become available, it doesn’t look like it’s gotten much better,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “We’re finding that provincial governments still have not done a great job of informing employers of their responsibilities, relevant rules and regulations, as well as the resources available to them.” 

Only 8 per cent of surveyed businesses had experienced a cannabis-related incident in the workplace since October 17, 2018, but that number rises to 22 per cent for businesses with 100 to 499 employees, according to the preliminary data. Businesses in hospitality were most likely to report having had an incident (16 per cent).

The survey also found that:

  • Only a quarter of businesses list their provincial government as a primary source of information related to cannabis in the workplace.
  • 32 per cent listed CFIB as a primary source of information, while 48 per cent did not have a primary source of information.
  • 59 per cent of those who had a primary source of information felt better equipped to deal with cannabis in the workplace.
  • 34 per cent of businesses do not have a drug and alcohol policy in place.

“Many small businesses don’t have an HR department or legal experts on staff so they need help and resources, but too often, their needs are treated as an afterthought when governments rush to introduce major new legislation,” added Kelly. “I advise any business owners that are looking for information to visit cfib.ca/cannabis for tools and resources, including a free workplace drug and alcohol policy template.”

Read the full preliminary survey results for more details.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
674-464-2814
[email protected] 

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 industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.