Survey says 8% of employers allow cannabis use

Nov 19, 2019

According to the results of a new survey by Ipsos commissioned by ADP Canada, a human resources software company, approximately 8% of respondents stated that their employer allows recreational cannabis use in the workplace, in contrast to 86% of respondents who said their employer does not permit it.

Researchers had polled 1,160 working Canadians aged 18 years and older between the period of August 30 and September 18, 2019. The study was designed to provide a representative sampling of working Canadians.

The results also showed that 47% of survey respondents who stated their employer permits cannabis consumption also reported consuming cannabis during working hours, with 63% of respondents saying they used cannabis prior to work, and 72% saying they used it after work.

In 2018, Ipsos and ADP Canada conducted a similar survey prior to the legalization of recreational cannabis, with results demonstrating that 10% of polled managers expected their employers to allow cannabis consumption before or during work, while 14% of managers described themselves as “somewhat likely” to consume cannabis at work. Moreover, the overall rate of Canadian workers expecting their employers to permit cannabis consumption at work was 6%, demonstrating that non-management workers were less likely to expect to have their employer’s permission to consume cannabis in the workplace.

The results of the 2019 survey show that this difference of expectations continues to persist between managers and non-managers, since 13% of managers stated that cannabis use is accepted in their workplace, in contrast to 3% of non-managers who stated the same.

In his interview with CTV News, Hendrik Steenkamp, ADP Canada’s human resources advisory director, said that this difference in opinions could be explained by a “communication gap” between employees and their managers. “Managers are more informed, perhaps, of the policies that govern the use of recreational drugs in the workplace,” he said.

Notably, the results of the survey also show that legal recreational cannabis has not produced the negative effect on workplace productivity that some Canadians had expected, with results showing that 74% of respondents said cannabis had no impact on productivity, and 71% said it did not increase absenteeism.

However, prior to cannabis legalization, 46% of respondents believed productivity would decrease and 40% of respondents expected increased absenteeism. “The expectation was that there would be a huge impact on the workplace, and yet the data shows this time around that it’s much, much smaller than we anticipated… I think that Canadians are very good, law-abiding citizens, and I think they have respect for the workplace,” Steenkamp told CBC News.

Currently, some employers are apprehensive of upcoming decriminalization of cannabis-infused edibles, topicals and extracts. According to Steenkamp, edible decriminalization will not cause major problems in the workplace, similarly to last year’s cannabis decriminalization. “There’s maybe some hype around the legalization of the edibles, similar to last year, but I think it will be the similar approach that organizations will apply,” he said.