Legal Q&A: Recreational marijuana

Recreational cannabis has now been legal in Canada for over six months, but many employers and employees alike are still unsure of how this affects their workplaces. To help address the uncertainties that workplaces are currently experiencing, the legal team at Stringer LLP has posted a collection of Q&As on our blog, First Reference Talks. Some common questions that are addressed in this post include:

  • What are "safety-sensitive positions" for the purposes of drug and alcohol abuse policies?
  • What if employees use what they claim is non-THC medical cannabis?
  • Do we need employees to sign-off on a new substance abuse policy?
  • What training should managers receive to help them deal with legalization?

Need more information?

The Human Resources Advisor™ (HRA) has comprehensive commentaries on medical and recreational cannabis pertaining to both federal and provincial requirements, including how policies should be drafted and best practices to comply with the law and protect your business. The commentaries also include an overview of the challenges associated with recreational marijuana and how employers can reduce the risks associated with employee cannabis use. These commentaries can be found in the Health and Safety section under Alcohol/Drug Abuse and Testing. Log in to HRA here or take a free trial to view the commentaries.


BC employment standards update

The British Columbia government tabled Bill 8, Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 on April 29, 2019, to significantly update the Employment Standards Act and incorporate some recommendations from the BC Law Institute, as well as from the BC Employment Standards Coalition, the BC Federation of Labour, and feedback from workers, employers and the public, which includes among other things:

  1. Increasing protections for child workers
  2. Transforming the Employment Standards branch
  3. Supporting families through difficult times with job-protected leaves of absence
  4. Strengthening the ability of workers to recover wages/monies owed
  5. Increasing recordkeeping requirements
  6. Improving fairness for terminated workers

We will be updating The Human Resources Advisor – Western Edition to cover all of the changes once the government passes the amended Employment Standards Act. Likewise, we will also update all applicable sample policies and commentaries found in Human Resources PolicyPro – British Columbia that relate to the six items listed above (if applicable).


Manitoba – Does your policy manual comply with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service?

A new section that covers Accessibility Standards for Manitoba has been recently added to the online version of Manitoba and Saskatchewan Human Resources PolicyPro®. The new section is comprised of two parts:

  1. An overview of the obligations under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA)
  2. The requirements under the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service Regulation and how to comply with them

PolicyPro Classic users can log in to My Account, click "My Products" and look for the "Policies and Forms" link beside the Manitoba/Saskatchewan section.

If you are using the print edition, please refer to Chapter 7 – Accessibility Standards included with the May release update.

PolicyProPlus™ users can click the "All PolicyProPlus Products" tab and select "Accessibility Standards Manitoba" to view the new content.

If you’re not a subscriber and would like to take a closer look at the new sample policies and commentaries, click here to take a 30-day trial.

Why accessible customer service matters

The customer service standards apply to all businesses, organizations and institutions with at least one employee in Manitoba, including the government, municipalities and the public sector.

Obligated organizations must remove barriers that will prevent persons with disabilities from obtaining, using or benefiting from the goods and services the organization offers to the public.

These organizations must also implement policies that will allow persons with disabilities to obtain, use or benefit from a good or service, or have the same opportunity to obtain, use or benefit from the good or service.

The compliance deadlines have already passed, but it is not too late to comply, and organizations cannot delay it any longer. According to a recent newsletter from the Manitoba Disabilities Issues Office, the Manitoba government is planning to begin reviewing compliance with the AMA and accessible customer service standards through accessibility audits this year.


60 essential questions to minimize revenue cycle risk

Our latest free checklist, The 60 Essential Revenue Cycle Questions, is built on the foundation of COSO’s Internal Control – Integrated Framework and will help you assess the strength of your controls and which controls need to be updated or implemented.

Revenue cycle policies are among the most important parts of an organization’s internal controls. With policies that are designed to effectively control sales, receivables and receipts, you can ensure you are:

  • Reporting accurate financial information
  • Billing all sales and recording all billings
  • Controlling risks associated with extending credit
  • Minimizing the loss or theft of assets, particularly cash or cheques
  • Maintaining strong controls for sales and receivables

Click here to get your copy of our new checklist.

Note: For subscribers to Finance & Accounting PolicyPro®, each revenue cycle question refers to one or more model policies that you can use to assess and update your revenue cycle controls.


Canada Labour Code amendments now in effect

We’re continuing to update The Human Resources Advisor (HRA) so that employers can keep up with all of the significant changes to the Canada Labour Code. Below, we’ve outlined some of the recent legislative changes that have come into force for federally regulated companies, including where to find the updated commentaries in HRA.

(Note: If you’re not a subscriber to HRA, learn how you can get a 30-day trial here)

1. Increase to the maximum aggregate amount of parental leave – in force March 17, 2019

The amendments to parental leave under the Canada Labour Code align parental leave provisions with the Employment Insurance (EI) parental sharing benefit to ensure that federally regulated private sector employees have the right to take extended parental leave while receiving EI parental sharing benefits without the fear of losing their jobs.

Moreover, the amendments increase the maximum aggregate amount of parental leave that may be taken by more than one employee for the same birth or adoption, raising it from the current 63 weeks up to 71 weeks. The maximum amount of leave taken by one employee will remain at 63 weeks. The amendments also increase the maximum aggregate amount of maternity and parental leave that may be taken by more than one employee, raising it from the current 78 weeks up to 86 weeks. One employee cannot take more than the current 78 weeks of maternity and parental leave.

For more information on the new extended parental sharing leave, log in to HRA and consult the Parental/Parental sharing leave commentary and for more on the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit, consult the Special EI benefits commentary.

2. Complaints and appeals process – in force April 1, 2019

These provisions amend the Canada Labour Code to modify the complaints and appeals process and are aimed at bringing clarity to existing enforcement measures, improving the recovery of unpaid wages, creating efficiencies where possible and improving compliance.

The new provisions include:

  • The introduction of new internal audit provisions that require an employer to conduct an internal audit where required to do so by the Minister
  • An increase to the limitation period for wage recovery claims from the current 12 months to 24 months (plus any extension) from the day the complaint was made
  • The inclusion of administrative fees against employers in payment orders made under the Code
  • Changes to the review and appeals process, including the ability to post security rather than the current requirement for the full payment of the amount due in an order prior to an employer or director of a corporation being permitted to request a review (or appeal) of the decision
  • Changes to the ability of the Labour Program to issue orders, including orders to a person who may become indebted to a director of a corporation to whom a payment order has been issued and the return of security after a final decision on a review or appeal has been made
  • Giving Labour Program inspectors power to determine wages and other amounts owed based on available evidence

For more in-depth compliance information on the items mentioned above, log in to HRA and refer to the Complaints Handling section under the Canada Labour Code discussion.



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