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Cannabis Use and the Canadian Workplace

Among workers reporting cannabis use in the past year, about one in five indicated they used it in the two hours before work, during work or during work breaks. This is one of the findings from an Institute for Work & Health (IWH) cross-Canada survey conducted in June 2018, four months before non-medical cannabis was legalized. An IWH research team is surveying this same group of workers (and more) for three years post-legalization to track how their use of, and beliefs about, cannabis at work are changing.



Reasons for the study

On October 17, 2018, cannabis use for non-medical purposes was legalized in Canada. There is the potential for cannabis use to spill over to the workplace, which could have occupational health and safety consequences. This study began with an IWH-led team conducting a survey in June 2018 of 2,014 workers across Canada from a wide range of industries and occupations to better understand pre-legalization workplace use patterns and perceptions. The study's research team will continue to resurvey this same group of workers (and more) for three years post-legalization to determine whether legalization is associated with changes in workplace use and related perceptions and norms.

Objectives of the study

  • To estimate the magnitude of workplace cannabis consumption and impairment in Canada
  • To evaluate the impact of cannabis legalization in Canada on cross-sectional and longitudinal patterns of workplace cannabis consumption, perceptions of risk and impact, workplace cannabis norms, and perceived availability in the workplace
  • To examine whether trends in these patterns, perceptions and norms differ according to age, sex, labour market gender roles, occupational groups and geographic location
  • To examine the reciprocal relationship between potentially modifiable factors (perceptions of risk, workplace cannabis norms, perceived cannabis availability in the workplace) and workplace cannabis use over time

Anticipated results/impact

This project will help policy-makers, employers, and health and safety associations and professionals understand the short-term effects of legalization on the workplace, and provide them with information to aid in the development of policies, practices and prevention initiatives to ensure lower-risk cannabis use among Canadian workers.


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