Cannabis at work: Almost 1 in 10 Canadians say their employer allows it
A woman smokes marijuana while celebrating the legalization of recreational cannabis, in Vancouver, on Wednesday October 17, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darryl Dyck)
TORONTO -- Nearly 10 per cent of Canadians say their employers allow cannabis use at work – and, according to a new poll, about half of those who can, do.
The survey from Ipsos, which was commissioned by human resources firm ADP Canada, found that 8 per cent of respondents said their employer permits recreational cannabis use in the workplace, versus 86 per cent who said their employer does not.
Forty-seven per cent of the respondents who said their workplace allows cannabis consumption reported consuming it during work hours, with 63 per cent saying they used cannabis before work and 72 per cent doing so after work.
Overall, those numbers translate to 5 per cent of Canadian workers using cannabis before work, 4 per cent doing it during work hours and 6 per cent using it after work.
Ipsos and ADP Canada conducted a similar survey one year ago, shortly before personal possession of cannabis was decriminalized.
That poll found that 10 per cent of surveyed managers expected that their employer would permit cannabis consumption before or during working hours, while 14 per cent described themselves as somewhat likely to use cannabis at work.
The overall rate of Canadians expecting their employer to OK cannabis consumption was 6 per cent, as non-management workers were less likely to believe that would happen.
The chasm between managers and non-managers continues to exist, with 13 per cent of managers saying cannabis use is accepted in their workplace, compared to 3 per cent of non-managers.
Hendrik Steenkamp, ADP Canada's human resources advisory director, said the differing opinions could potentially be explained by a "communication gap" between managers and their employees.
"Managers are more informed, perhaps, of the policies that govern the use of recreational drugs in the workplace," he told CTVNews.ca via telephone on Thursday.
Canadians surveyed for the new poll largely said that decriminalization has not had a significant impact on their workplace. Although more than 40 per cent of pre-decriminalization respondents reported fears around productivity decreases, absenteeism and health and safety concerns, at least 70 per cent said that they had seen no evidence of such issues actually occurring.
"Cannabis had significantly a smaller impact in the workplace than what was originally expected," Steenkamp said.
More uncertainty looms over what the cannabis-at-work landscape will look like in a few weeks' time, as cannabis-infused edibles, extracts and topicals will be decriminalized Oct. 17.
Steenkamp said he expects edibles decriminalization to largely pass without having major impacts on the workplace, just as was the case with last year's discriminalization.
"There's maybe some hype around the legalization of the edibles, similar to last year, but I think it will be the similar approach that organizations will apply," he said.
The poll was based on a survey of 1,160 working Canadians aged 18 and over between Aug. 30 and Sept. 18. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.