New workplace impairment policy helps employees and supervisors understand their responsibilities around impairment and addiction


Occupational health and safety legislation imposes general duties on employers, contractors, and managers/supervisors to provide a safe work environment and take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Employees also have obligations under the legislation to protect their own safety and the health and safety of others at the worksite. Impairment from drugs, alcohol, medications, substances or other impairing conditions can affect employee performance, and create risk to people, property, research and reputation.

Following the legalization of cannabis, Human Resources began the development of an impairment policy framework. Approved by the Board of Governors in June 2019, the Workplace Impairment Policy Suite:

  • Is designed to ensure that the university is a safe and healthy workplace that supports employees and supervisors in that pursuit.
  • Identifies expectations of employees to attend work “fit for work” and remain fit for work while on duty.
  • Outlines responsibilities for managers and supervisors for identifying and responding to impairment in the workplace.
  • Reinforces the university’s commitment to support employees who disclose they have alcohol or drug dependency or other conditions that could cause workplace impairment.

The policy and three procedures place particular emphasis on:

  • Defining impairment and the necessity of employees being fit for work
  • Managing impairment in safety sensitive work
  • How to disclosure and report workplace impairment
  • Providing guidance to managers and supervisors in dealing with impairment in the workplace
  • Process for third-party impairment testing

Since the policy took effect, Human Resources has provided several education seminars for leaders, faculty and staff and continues to provide guidance on impairment in the workplace. If you suspect impairment in the workplace, please contact your HR partner as soon as possible to ensure we can continue to provide a safe and healthy work, learning and living environment.