CanadaDataLegalizationRegulationsCannabis in the Workplace Study Shows Most Canadians Don’t Work High

One in 25 Canadians said they go to work high according to a new Ipsos poll, but workplace productivity hasn't suffered.
Michelle Gamage Michelle GamageOctober 3, 20195 min

Turns out the Canadian labour force doesn’t tend to wake and bake. 

Almost a year into legalization, a new Ipsos study found only eight per cent of Canadian employers allow cannabis on the job and four per cent of Canadians actually get high at work. 

That means around one in 25 Canadians are consuming cannabis at work. 

The survey, commissioned by the human resources consultancy ADP Canada, reveals pre-legalization concerns around workplace impairment were largely unfounded. 

“There was a lot of uncertainty and hype leading up to cannabis legalization last year, but so far, cannabis has not had a noticeable impact on the workplace or on workplace performance,” said Hendrik Steenkamp, HR Advisory Director for ADP Canada in a statement. 

Canadian legalization concerns 

Prior to legalization in 2018 nearly half of Canadians were worried there would be a drop in workplace productivity, and over half were concerned there would be a spike in health and safety incidents. 

But a year later the study showed 70 to 75 per cent of Canadians said cannabis has not affected their productivity, quality of work, workplace safety, or incidence of absenteeism. 

Most, or 86 per cent, of Canadian employers have workplace policies against working high. 

For the eight per cent of places which do allow recreational workday cannabis consumption, 63 per cent of employees say they consume before work, 47 per cent said they do it at work and 72 per cent said they consume after work. 

However, it’s important to look at those numbers within the whole working population of Canada. The survey found only five per cent of Canadians said they consume cannabis before work, four per cent consume at work and six per cent consume after work with their colleagues. 

Managers know best 

Disconnect between managers and employees continues, with 13 per cent of managers reporting cannabis is accepted at their workplace and only three per cent of non-managers reported the same thing. Similarly 86 per cent of managers reported understanding their workplace cannabis guidelines compared to 74 per cent of non-managers. 

Employees in Atlantic Canada were, at 72 per cent, most likely to be aware of their workplace policies and Quebecers came last with only 56 per cent of employees reporting knowing the guidelines. 

As the second wave of legalization approaches 22 per cent of Canadians report feeling more positive towards cannabis, with the warmest feelings in Ontario with 27 per cent and Atlantic Canada with 22 per cent. Overall however, 46 per cent of Canadians said legalization hasn’t changed how they feel. 

The Ipsos poll surveyed 1,160 people 18 years and over online between August 30 and September 18 this year. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points, or 19 times out of 20. 

According to Statistics Canada, the cannabis sector now employs over 9,200 Canadians and there are 175 pot firms operating in the country.

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