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​​​​​Addressing substance use affecting the workplace

CCSA works with partners, employers and representatives from both public and private sectors to identify current needs and emerging issues related to the effects of substance use affecting the workplace. More recent concerns about the regulation and legalization of non-medical cannabis in Canada have prompted employers and other stakeholders to consider how to address substance use through effective and appropriate workplace policies and practices. CCSA’s research has identified the following considerations for employers:

  • Addressing substance use issues through a comprehensive, well-developed policy sends the message that substance use and its potential ramifications are important within an organization. Not having a policy might indicate that substance use is not a concern or is even tolerated, which could increase workplace risks.

  • Workplace substance use policies, especially those related to supportive and disciplinary measures, must balance employee and employer needs. This balance includes meeting human rights and other legal standards, as well as incorporating in policies such considerations as prevention and accommodation.

  • Workplace culture and employee commitment to recovery are critical to reducing substance use affecting the workplace. Policies and best practices will be most effective in an environment that discourages substance use, but also discourages discrimination, stigma and potential prejudice.

A review of workplace substance use policies in Canada

CCSA’s report, A Review of Workplace Substance Use Policies in Canada, breaks new ground. Based on surveys and interviews with Canadian employers, the report highlights lessons learned and best practices of existing policies, and portrays how employers approach substance use affecting the workplace.

Start the Conversation

Produced by CCSA, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Conference Board of Canada, Start the Conversation contains statistics, risk factors and tips for starting the conversation on this important issue.

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