The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 13

While the effects of marijuana are
complex and highly-variable in that
everyone reacts differently, cannabis use
is generally believed to influence and
impair psychomotor skills and judgment
and therefore its use can negatively
influence overall job performance.
For obvious reasons, this outcome is
especially undesirable in the case of
employers with safety-sensitive work
environments; for instance, when
employees are responsible for the safe
operation or routine maintenance
of motor vehicles. Hence, it's safe to
suggest that legalization of cannabis may
create challenges for many employers in
the motor coach sector.
Barb Butler, president, Barbara
Butler & Associates Inc. Management
Consultants, a noted expert on
alcohol and drug policy development,
has worked with the OMCA to
stage seminars on this subject. "The
challenge," says Butler, "is that people
who use before work or even the night
before may not realize they are impaired
or are affected by the residual effects of
use. So employers need to do periodic
checks to ensure people are fit for work,
and make sure supervisors don't turn a
blind eye when someone is using. If an
employee were to cause an accident and
it became clear a supervisor knew they
were using in conjunction with work,
there could be liabilities not just for the
company, but also for the supervisor who
did nothing to stop it."
Medical marijuana is a psychoactive
drug prescribed to deal with medical
conditions and, accordingly, many of
those medical conditions constitute
a disability. Therefore, the use of
medical marijuana will usually entail
an assessment and accommodative
approach with employers required to
accommodate up to the point of undue
hardship. Worth noting, detecting and
proving marijuana usage/impairment
in workers is considerably more
difficult than identifying alcohol
use/impairment.
In May 2018, the regional
Atlantic-Canada-based law firm
Stewart McKelvey published a Client
Update, for general information

purposes, outlining the result of
a significant decision that can
be construed to define what can
be considered a safety-sensitive
position. The arbitration cited saw a
grievance dismissed after deeming the
accommodation of medical marijuana
to be undue hardship in safety-sensitive
positions because of the problem of
residual impairment.
The arbitrator's acknowledgement
that impairment can last up to 24 hours
led to the finding of undue hardship as
outlined in this decision:
1. The regular use of medically-authorized
cannabis products can cause impairment
of a worker in a workplace environment.
The length of cognitive impairment can
exceed simply the passage of 4 hours after
ingestion. Impairment can sometimes
exist for up to 24 hours after use.
2. Persons consuming medical cannabis
in the evening may sincerely believe
that they are not impaired in their
subsequent daily functioning; they
can, however, experience residual
impairment beyond the shortest
suggested time limits. The lack of
awareness or real insight into one's
functional impairment can be a
consequence of cannabis use. In that
context, a person may not experience
'euphoria' (as mentioned in the Health
Canada Guidance), yet still not
function, respond or react normally
while impaired by cannabis use.
2 [sic]. A general practicing physician
is not in a position to adequately
determine, simply grounded on
visual inspection of the patient in a
clinic and a basic understanding of
patient's work, the daily safety issues
in a hazardous workplace. Specialized
training in understanding workplace
hazards is necessary to fully understand
the interaction between cannabis
impairment and appropriate work
restrictions in a given fact situation.
The arbitrator was satisfied that
undue hardship in terms of unacceptable
increased safety risk would result to the
employer if it put the grievor to work with
his authorized medical cannabis use.
Bottom line: Canadian employers
will face a number of additional

challenges - further to those imposed
by the legalization of medical
cannabis - associated with the passage
of C-45. As such, it's vital they ensure
their HR policies have been updated
to adequately address the legalization
of cannabis, including cannabis
possession, use and impairment at
work, accommodation of medical
cannabis use when appropriate
and if and when employees may
be subject to testing for cannabis.
Butler advises: "Employers should be
reviewing their policies and making
sure they are clear on the rules,
investigation tools and consequences
of a violation as well as setting out
prevention/assistance options. In
addition, these parameters need to be
well-communicated and a record of
that communication kept."
Given this changing landscape
and the complexity of the subject,
employers would be wise to consider
availing their companies of resources,
including consultants with expertise on
alcohol and drug policy development,
liaising with government agencies
with oversight in this area, attending
related seminars and/or accessing
online resources. It will also likely prove
strategic to remain fully engaged with
lawmakers through membership in the
OMCA and other industry associations
to keep apprised of industry initiatives,
such as the current lobbying on behalf
of industry to allow random testing.
Finally, management would also be
well-advised to remain cognizant of
current and evolving law as it relates to
the subject so as to best mitigate and
manage the resulting realities of Bill
C-45 in the workplace.
■

Additional Resources:

Health Canada information about alcohol and other
drugs: http://recherche-search.gc.ca/rGs/s_r?st=s&s5b
m3ts21rch=x&num=10&st1rt=0&langs=eng&cdn=h
ealth&q=alcohol+and+drugs
The U.S. Department of Transportation Office
of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance:
http://www.dot.gov/odapc/index.html
For information on employee assistance and
assessment services, Canadian Centre on Substance
Use and Addiction: http://www.ccdus.ca/Eng/Pages/
default.aspx
The U.S. Department of Transportation Office
of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance:
http://www.dot.gov/odapc/index.html

Read The Road Explorer online at www.naylornetwork.com/omc-nxt


http://recherche-search.gc.ca/rGs/s_r?st=s&s5b http://www.dot.gov/odapc/index.html http://www.ccdus.ca/Eng/Pages/default.aspx http://www.ccdus.ca/Eng/Pages/default.aspx http://www.dot.gov/odapc/index.html http://www.naylornetwork.com/omc-nxt

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2018

Industry Voice
Issues Update
Regulatory Update
Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Less Taken
Southern Exposure
2018 OMCA Marketplace
UC Coach Lines
Port Stanley Festival Theatre
Travel Highlights Marketplace
Classifieds
Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - ebelly2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 4
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 5
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 6
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Industry Voice
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 8
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Issues Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Regulatory Update
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 11
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 13
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - The Road Less Taken
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 15
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 16
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert1
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - insert2
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Southern Exposure
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 18
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 2018 OMCA Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - UC Coach Lines
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 21
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Port Stanley Festival Theatre
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - 23
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Travel Highlights Marketplace
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Classifieds
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover3
The Road Explorer - Summer 2018 - Cover4
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