Cannabis in the Workplace
It is expected that the legalization of recreational cannabis may cause potential distruptions to the workforce and changes to organizations most of which are not yet fully understood. It is not only the potential impacts of consuming cannabis and the possibility of medicinal use in the workplace but also the inclusion of cannabis in other products used by employees such as breath mints, drinks, oils, candy, etc. As this is new territory for the Canadian workforce, little guidance has been provided to date, however, we are able to learn from the experience of other jurisdictions. Many organizations are thinking through impacts to HR policies and processes. If impacts are not properly managed and risks are not appropriately identified, organizations may face potential harm to employees and others surrounding them along with financial loss and potential reputational damage from lawsuits. To put this disruption in perspective, according to a poll by Deloitte, currently 22% of the Canadian adult population consumes recreational cannabis on at least an occasional basis. A further 17% show some willingness to try it if it were legal which is close to 40% of the adult population. Internal auditors will need to demonstrate their agility to be able to consider not only the impacts of these changes to their existing work, their role in helping the organization navigate through impacts to the business but also any impacts on their own workforce. This is a significant culture shift for Canadian business and internal audit has an important part to play.