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Change is Coming, Are You Prepared?

Updated: Jan 27, 2019


Here is a Summary of What You Need to Know:


Safety Programs:

  • Employers with 20+ workers need to have a documented and audited Safety Management System

  • New definition of Health and Safety, adds obligation to protect the employee's psychological and social well-being (added protection against harassment and violence)

  • Added employer obligation to protect the safety of the worker and any others near by

  • Increased obligations for supervisors, need to be trained and deemed competent

Joint Health and Safety Committees:

  • Employers required to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee on every site with 20+ employees

  • Joint Health and Safety Committee members need to be trained (min 2 management/supervision and 2 elected workers)

  • Joint Health and Safety Committee to review all incident reports and inspections

  • Joint Health and Safety Committee must meet by June 10/18 at each site, and then quarterly

Reporting Injuries and Incidents:

OHS Officer Enforcement Powers:

  • During the investigation of an incident officers can force employers to produce documents or give them computer system access on the spot

  • Officers can question workers without legal representation

  • New Stop Work Order powers - can stop work at site where incident took place, and at any other of an employers sites in Alberta that does the same work; workers must still be paid while order is in place

  • New Stop Use Order Powers - employers cannot sell/lease/transfer equipment until order is lifted, again employees must be paid during this period


**For more information, follow the links below


Bennett Jones Article

Alberta Gov't OHS Changes Page

Cannabis Legalization:

  • Public sentiment is changing on Cannabis use: from being considered a hard drug to now being legalized for medical and recreational use

  • Once retail sales are allowed there will be thousands of cannabis infused products available - from edibles (chocolates, candies, potato chips, water, etc) to personal use products (lotions, suppositories, etc). It will become very difficult to keep this off site or know who is using

  • Public use likely to be governed by municipal smoking bylaws, without posted no tolerance policies it will be possible to have issues with smoking of cannabis on site


Impairment Testing:

  • The main concern with use is that there is currently no test available to employers that will show cannabis impairment, only that it has been recently used (3 days to a few weeks)

  • Employers may need to focus on "Fit for Duty Policies" and broader testing for Cognitive Impairment of any kind, allowing removal of worker from site and putting the onus on the worker to explain the cause of impairment


Employer Accommodation Obligations:

  • Some insurers are beginning to accept medical cannabis as treatment for certain diseases

  • Employers will need to become familiar with Employee Assistance Programs available through benefits providers due to increased accommodation requests

  • Expect a period of adjustment as governments determine the balance between an employer's obligation to provide a safe workplace and the employer's obligation to accommodate medical cannabis users


**For more information follow the links below


Marijuana At Work in Canada

Alberta Government Cannabis Framework



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