Cannabis Legislation Change Leads to New Policies

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THUNDER BAY – Canada’s legislation on Cannabis is changing.

The new legislation has businesses, public institutions, police services all putting forward policies regarding the use of marijuana by their employees, guests, and visitors.

Norm Gale - Acting Thunder Bay City Manager
Norm Gale – Thunder Bay City Manager

Thunder Bay City Manager Norm Gale says, “We have no specific policy on cannabis in the workplace.  We do have a procedure however on substance use in general and the requirement that an employee not be impaired at work.

“Our procedure will be updated, however (work in progress) to consider any implications of legalized cannabis.

“That one cannot be impaired at work prohibits consumption of cannabis at work; as cannabis leads to impairment.  This notwithstanding that it is unlawful to consume cannabis at work.  The current Impairment at Work Procedure is being amended to include the workplace impacts of cannabis legalization. For example, it is illegal to consume recreational cannabis in the workplace, including company vehicles.

Confederation College Shuniah Building
Confederation College Shuniah Building

“Our employees know that they cannot be impaired at work and that they cannot consume at work substances that lead to impairment. Legalized cannabis does not change this.”

In Thunder Bay, Confederation College has enacted a new policy for use and possession of cannabis on campus.

Highlights of the policy that specifically address regulation surrounding the use and possession of cannabis follow:

  • The possession, use, consumption, sale or distribution of cannabis, cannabis oils and/or cannabis edibles is prohibited on College property.
  • Use or consumption of cannabis is not permitted in College smoking areas.
  • The use of medical cannabis will be looked at on a case-by-case basis and advanced approval for use will be required.
  • The manufacturing, sale or distribution of drug paraphernalia is prohibited.

Contraventions of this policy will be addressed within the parameters of the Student Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for employees.

Lakehead UniversityLakehead University states, “The recreational use of cannabis on Lakehead University Campuses will be governed by the University’s Recreational Cannabis on Premises Policy. Students living on campus will also need to adhere to Residence Rules as they pertain to use in a residential setting. Lakehead University will continue to review the implementation of this policy framework as legislation and circumstances evolve municipally, provincially and nationally and revise as needed. As stated in the policy, consultation with the students, faculty, staff, and others as necessary, will be included as part of the review process.”


What you need to know about the legalization of recreational use of cannabis and working, studying and/or living at Lakehead University:

  • Consumption of any form of cannabis is not permitted in public spaces or workspaces at Lakehead University (including designated smoking areas).
  • Consumption of edible forms of cannabis is treated similarly to alcohol and responsible use is permitted for those of legal age to consume in their own residence room (in accordance with Residence Rules).
  • No cultivation of cannabis is permitted on campus.

The Ontario Provincial Police issued a statement: “The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is committed to the health, safety and wellness of our members and the communities we serve.

“Maintaining a drug and alcohol-free workplace is a crucial step to fulfilling that commitment.

As a safety-sensitive workplace, all OPP members must report to work fit for duty. A member is fit for duty when they are in a physical, mental and emotional state that allows the individual to perform assigned duties competently and in a manner that does not compromise or threaten the safety or health of that individual or others, the environment, or OPP property.

” ‘Our policy remains – all members must report to work fit for duty. The health and well-being of all our members enables the OPP to continuously provide effective support to our communities,’ states OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes.

“Reporting to work fit for duty requires a member be without limitations resulting from, but not limited to, all drugs (including cannabis, over-the-counter and prescription medication) and/or alcohol. If a member has accommodation needs, the OPP will continue to review such accommodation requests and needs in accordance with the Ontario Public Service’s Disability Accommodation Policy and the Ontario Human Rights Code.

“Maintaining a drug- and alcohol-free workplace is crucial to ensuring that our environment, members and the families and communities that depend on them, remain safe”.

The legalization change is likely to put pressure on business owners and companies over the potential liabilities of employees injured on the job, or performing word duties while under the influence of cannabis.

Police across Canada have been engaged in training to recognize the symptoms and signs of a cannabis impaired driver as well.



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