FREDERICTON (GNB) – The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is releasing a new publication on the duty to accommodate in the workplace regarding the consumption of cannabis.

On Oct. 17, adult-use cannabis will become legal in Canada, and many New Brunswickers have questions about the implications of the new legislation, especially in the context of the workplace. To help answer some of these questions, the commission will be releasing information over the coming months, starting with a primer on the key considerations with regards to the duty to accommodate in the workplace.

The primer, titled Legalization of cannabis: what is the impact inside and outside the workplace?, is intended to provide a brief explanation to employers and employees on their rights and obligations under the Human Rights Act with regard to the consumption of cannabis, both inside and outside of the workplace, and the consumption of medically prescribed cannabis, both inside and outside of the workplace. This primer also addresses important topics such as jobs that are safety-sensitive, addictions, medically prescribed cannabis and adult-use cannabis.

Employers and employees are reminded that their rights and obligations under the act will remain the same pre- and post-legalization. The legalization of cannabis does not effectively change the duty to accommodate, and there is no absolute; every situation should be based upon individual circumstances to determine an accommodation.

The commission develops guidelines as part of its mandate to protect and promote human rights in the province, and, shortly, the commission will issue an updated guideline on drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. This updated guideline will address, in more depth, the duty to accommodate employees with addictions, the consumption of medical cannabis inside and outside of the workplace, drug and alcohol testing in the workplace, and the differences between unionized and non-unionized workplaces.

For further information about the act or the commission’s publications, New Brunswickers may contact the commission at 506-453-2301 or toll-free at 1-888-471-2233 within New Brunswick. TTY users may also reach the commission at 506-453-2911. People may also visit the commission’s website or email hrc.cdp@gnb.ca.