The city of London has set out the rules for its workers when it comes to cannabis use, as the country prepares for legalization one week from Thursday.
While certain companies and other Canadian municipalities are outright banning employees from using cannabis while off-duty, the city of London will not prohibit cannabis use within a certain number of hours or days prior to an employee’s shift.
The new substance-use policy was created in September and distributed to employees on Thursday. It treats cannabis similar to alcohol and prescription drugs in that employees are instructed not to come to work impaired by any substance.
“If a person is impaired as a result of substance use, they should not be in the workplace, or if they are impaired and on a medication associated, we will then work with them to identify if they have any restrictions or limitations and to determine what work they can safely perform,” said human resources manager Gary Bridge.
The new rules cover all employees, volunteers, students on placements and contractors.
“This procedure applies to all city of London employees, that would include any of our firefighters, parks and rec staff, staff that may be working at the Dearness home, city hall, etcetera,” he said.
Managers have been instructed on the signs of impairment, and Bridge notes that if an employee is thought to be impaired, a manager may respond in a number of ways, from arranging for safe transportation home to taking them to hospital.
The RCMP and Toronto police are prohibiting employees from using cannabis within 28 days of a shift, but it remains unclear what rules will be put in place for employees of the London Police Service.
A spokesperson says their cannabis policy is in the final stages of approval.
As of Oct. 17, Ontarians will be allowed to smoke cannabis wherever the smoking of tobacco is permitted. It will only be available for purchase online with private retail stores set to be in place by April next year.
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