Blog Post #1411 – Coping with Substance Use in the Canadian Workplace – Part Three

Report from the OH&S Canada magazine (Sept. 2021)

Original Report from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


Canada’s legalization of cannabis in 2018 sparked a national conversation on substance use and the stigmas surrounding addiction.

As the conversation evolves, employers should review their policies and guidelines around substance use and educate their employees about the risks of working while impaired.

In doing so, they will create environments where workers feel safe and supported when asking for help.

To ensure these policies and guidelines are effective, it’s important to be aware of substance use in the workplace, and what the workplace can do to address possible impairment.

Developing Policies with Transparency

To encourage early treatment and reduce safety risks, assure workers that they will not be stigmatized and that their livelihood is not at risk if they ask for help.

Promote the availability of confidential employee assistance programs (EAPs) to encourage workers to seek help for substance use issues.

Foster ongoing conversations on substance use and involve employees in the development of workplace policies. That way, they know they can expect consistency with how substance use is addressed, giving them added confidence to seek help for themselves or their co-workers.

A great place to start policy discussions is defining substance use and impairment. Employees need to know how to recognize impairment, when to come forward, who to report their concerns to, and their rights to confidentiality are when they do come forward about themselves or their colleagues.

Note – It is not the role of a supervisor or manager to diagnose substance use or addiction, only to recognize impairment and respond according to the organization’s policies.

Make sure workers and supervisors are familiar with the available training and educational resources on topics such as prevention and resilience and fighting stigma.

Also let them know about any assistance available to workers struggling with substance use, and how use and impairment will be addressed in the workplace.

My opinion

I am very excited about this report. The 4th, and last, part of the report will be issued in a few days. I hope you enjoy.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “All accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level

CEO and Training Director




Leave a Comment