Workplace Impairment: The Latest for Employers on Recreational Cannabis Use

May 15, 2018 | Amy Groothuis, Jon Danyliw

During our recent seminars, we commented on the legal issues arising from the use of cannabis in the workplace and offered strategies to assist employers to comply with their obligations to provide a safe workplace for their employees, while also complying with human rights legislation.

Proposed Saskatchewan Cannabis Legislation

In our presentation, we briefly discussed the provincial government’s proposed framework respecting recreational cannabis. The government of Saskatchewan has now tabled its proposed cannabis legislation.  Bill 121, known as The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act, provides the framework for the sale, possession, consumption, distribution and transportation of cannabis within the Province.

Under the proposed legislation, which will not apply to medical cannabis, individuals 19 years of age and older will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis (or its equivalent) in a public place.  Public places will include places or buildings to which the public is permitted to have access, parks, playgrounds, cinemas, other places of public amusement, roads and highways, or a vehicle that is in a public place (except when transporting cannabis from where it was purchased to a place where it may be lawfully consumed or between two places it may be lawfully consumed).

Consumption of cannabis in public places is prohibited, as is consumption of cannabis at schools or on school grounds, and child care facilities. However, there is an exception for child care facilities in private residences, when child care services are not being provided.

Public campgrounds, provincial parks and regional parks will not have an outright ban on cannabis, but the minister responsible for these areas may prohibit cannabis in any or all of them by ministerial order.

The proposed legislation also sheds light on how the sale of cannabis in Saskatchewan will be regulated, including the process of obtaining a cannabis permit, rules for vendors and the designation of cannabis enforcement officers to ensure vendors maintain compliance with the legislation.  Police officers will also be authorized to enforce the rules that apply to cannabis vendors.

Minors who purchase or attempt to purchase, possess, consume or sell or distribute cannabis will be guilty of an offence and liable to a maximum fine of $2,000.  Maximum fines for contraventions for which no other penalty is specified are up to $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations.

Drug Impaired Driving Update

During our seminars, we received a number of questions about finding a “legal limit” for cannabis impairment.  The federal government is seeking to amend impaired driving laws to reflect legalization of recreational cannabis.  Under the new legislation, police will be able to demand an oral fluid sample at the roadside if they suspect a driver has a drug in their body.  Where reasonable grounds exist, this may be followed by a blood test.  The legal limits for drugs would be set by regulation. For THC, the proposed legal limits are:

  • 2 nanograms (ng) but less than 5 ng per 1 milliliter (ml) of blood for summary conviction offence;
  • 5 ng or more per 1 ml of blood for the drug-only hybrid offence; and
  • 5 ng or more per 1 ml of blood combined with 50 mg or more of alcohol per 100 ml of blood for the drugs-with-alcohol hybrid offence.

If you are concerned about the risks associated with cannabis use in your workplace, we would be pleased to assist you in developing proactive strategies and updating your policies respecting impairment in the workplace.


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