Strategic Initiatives

Workplace Impairment Policy Development & Information

The University of Alberta is committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and the public. With the advent of cannabis legalization development of a comprehensive policy and procedures to address impairment and safety in the workplace is underway.

Occupational Health and Safety legislation requires that the University of Alberta provide a safe, healthy and productive work environment for all faculty and staff. Many aspects of the university workplace require mental and physical alertness, accurate and quick reflexes along with sound judgement and decision making. Any substance or condition that may cause impairment to these abilities can introduce unnecessary workplace hazards and create health and safety risk that can lead to critical workplace incidents that may have severe consequences. The use of drugs, alcohol, medications or other substances and/or physical or mental health conditions can impair performance having significant adverse impacts and create significant risk to people, property, research and reputation.

Employees also have responsibilities under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act. These include working in a safe manner, being safety conscious on the job, not being impaired on the job, and cooperating with the health and safety measures established by employers. The use of medical cannabis or other prescribed substances does not mean one can be impaired at work.

Workplace Impairment Policy Development Progress

The university’s Workplace Impairment Policy will include:

  • a definition of impairment
  • the establishment of expectations and guidelines for all employees regarding the use of impairing substances in the workplace
  • a means for supporting employees who are dealing with current or emerging substance addictions
  • employer responsibilities, liabilities and risks associated with impairment
  • employee responsibilities associated with impairment
  • provisions for accommodating employees with prescriptions for substances which may impair, including medical cannabis.

Consultation with managers of safety-sensitive work and the four staff associations were conducted throughout the spring and summer. A draft policy and set of procedures have been developed for legal review in advance of the policy approval process, which will commence later this fall.