Keep Calm and ... Understand Cannibis: What Employers in the Energy Sector Want to Know About Legalized Cannabis in the Workplace


  • Shana Wolch Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Calgary.
  • Justine Lindner Associate, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto.
  • Dan Demers Director Business Development, C-SAPA (Certified Substance Abuse Program Administrator), North Bay, Ontario.
  • Ben Ratelband Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto.



With the recent legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, employers, particularly those with safety sensitive operations, are forced to evaluate the impact that cannabis will have on their workplaces. This article argues that the law has not yet fully evolved with the advances in scientific understanding of the effects of cannabis or the advances in the technology for testing methodologies. The article explores the current legal framework for workplace drug testing and provides best practices regarding drug testing programs and related workplace policies. It cautions that unless carefully designed, these policies may be found to be contrary to human rights or privacy legislation, or, in the case of unionized employers, unreasonable and outside the scope of the collective agreement.