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HEALTH & SAFETY: Cannabis – is your company ready for legalization?
May 24th, 2018 2:10 pm     A+ | a-

Andrew Pariser and Amina Dibe / RESCON

Recreational cannabis will soon become legalized in Canada through the passing of Bill C-45, (the) Cannabis Act. While it will miss the original July 1, 2018 deadline, it is expected to clear all remaining legislative hurdles by the late summer or early fall 2018.

RESCON members have communicated two key themes of significance. First, members have asked for more details on regulation, enforcement and best practices. In short, there is a desire for more information on the practical realities that full legalization will bring.

We are listening. Our first event was held last October: the Cannabis in Construction Symposium covered topics such as:

- Medical explanation of what cannabis is and how it affects users.

- Legal explanation of “fit for duty.” Highlighted issues related to employment and labour law, accommodation, and health and safety, including drug testing on and off site.

- Provided a legislative background through a presentation by Ontario’s Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat.

The panel from last October's Cannabis in Construction Symposium takes questions.

The second theme is that legalization in theory does not change anything. All workers have and will always be required to come to work “fit for duty.” Impairment is impairment, and all health and safety policies and procedures need to address and promote a safe work culture contemplating all types of impairment (cannabis included).

Moving forward, RESCON is hosting Cannabis in Construction Symposium 2.0 on Tuesday, June 12, which will focus on:

- Legislative path to legalization -- How we got here and where we are going: Prof. Bill Bogart, professor of law, University of Windsor.

- Creating a culture of safety in the workplace: Rob Ellis, MySafeWork

- Addiction and External Resources -- Jean-François Crépault, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

The event will include a legal panel with a focus on labour, employment, accommodation and WSIB (Diane Laranja, Filion Wakely; Sundeep Gokhale, Sherrard Kuzz; Les Liversidge, L.A. Liversidge, LL.B.), and a discussion on best practices from other jurisdictions (Sony Gokhale, general counsel for supreme cannabis).


As Bill C-45 continues to move through the Senate and the Ontario Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat continues to release updates and policies, RESCON will continue to keep its members informed. RESCON also will continue to examine and understand the labour relations and health and safety implications recreational legalization will have on members and the industry as a whole.

If you have questions or concerns, or would like to attend the Cannabis in Construction Symposium 2.0 on June 12, please contact Amina Dibe at or Andrew Pariser at

 Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON and chair of the RESCON health and safety committee. Email him at

Amina Dibe is a policy and programs analyst for RESCON with a focus on training and apprenticeship, health and safety, and government relations. Email her at

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