Workplace cannabis use and perceptions among Canadian workers before legalization

Reasons for the study

In October 2018, non-medical cannabis will be legalized in Canada. The potential impact of legalization on the occupational health and safety and productivity of workers has received little attention. Any increases in cannabis use by workers have the potential to affect a large proportion of Canadians and may have spillover effects on the workplace. A critical first step to understanding the potential impact of legalization on the workplace is to gather knowledge on how workers use cannabis in relation to the workplace, and on their perceptions of and attitudes towards workplace use. Yet, we know virtually nothing about the current magnitude of cannabis use in Canadian workplaces. To address this critical knowledge gap, this project will conduct a survey of workers to collect pan-Canadian data on workplace cannabis consumption and worker perceptions about cannabis use.

Objectives of the study

  • To estimate the magnitude of workplace cannabis consumption and impairment
  • To measure worker intentions to use cannabis in the workplace following legalization, their current reasons for use and the expected effects of that use in the workplace, their knowledge of cannabis effects, and their perceptions of risk and consequences of workplace use, as well as workplace cannabis norms and perceived workplace availability
  • To examine the association of reasons for use, expected effects of use, perceptions of risk, and workplace cannabis norms and availability with workplace cannabis consumption¬†
  • To examine whether these constructs differ according to age, sex, labour market gender roles, province/territory, and occupational hazard exposure¬†

Anticipated results/impact

This project will lead to the development of a robust population-level data set that can be used as a benchmark in monitoring the long-term impact of cannabis legalization in Canadian workplaces. This project is also expected to provide information needed to develop effective workplace policies and primary prevention initiatives to ensure lower-risk cannabis use as it relates to the workplace.

Related presentations

Project status


Research team

  • Nancy Carnide, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Andrea Furlan, Institute for Work & Health
  • Kim Slade, Public Services Health & Safety Association
  • Amy Porath-Waller, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
  • Shawna Meister, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
  • Michael Frone, University at Buffalo
  • Mark Ware, McGill University

Participating organizations

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
Employment and Social Development Canada
Ontario Building Trades
Ontario Ministry of Labour
Public Services Health & Safety Association
Workplace Safety and Prevention Services
Workplace Safety North


Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research