FREDERICTON (GNB) – The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is issuing guidelines to help employers meet their legal obligations to accommodate employees who have an addiction to cannabis, alcohol and drugs.

The guidelines are in keeping with the commission's mandate to protect and promote human rights in the province and aims to foster a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities of New Brunswickers under the Human Rights Act.

Sixty-seven per cent of the complaints filed with the commission in 2017-18 involved allegations of discrimination that affected employment and were related to reasons of physical disability and mental incapacity. The document is designed to provide employers and employees with the information they need.

The Guidelines on Cannabis, Alcohol and Drug Addictions are based upon the act and case law that recognizes addiction to cannabis, alcohol or drugs as disabilities protected by human rights legislation. The document specifically addresses the use of medical cannabis inside and outside the workplace; alcohol and drug testing in the workplace; and differences between unionized and non-unionized workplaces.

Using examples, the document also addresses the need for housing providers and service providers such as restaurants, hospitals, and shopping centres to accommodate the use of medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis.

The publication of the guidelines is a follow-up to the background paper on the key considerations regarding the obligation to accommodate in the workplace, entitled Legalization of Cannabis - What is the impact inside and outside of the workplace?

For further information about the act or the commission, 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.