The year 2018 is a big one for employment law. With legalization of cannabis on the horizon, Canadian employers are scrambling to come up with ways to cope with how the change could impact their business from a human resources perspective.
One of the pointed question will be, what is a pre-employment drug screen going to be like when cannabis is legal?
If Canada is anything like the United States, it could mean a decline in these kinds of screenings.
What is a pre-employment drug screen?
A pre-employment drug screen is a voluntary drug test administered to potential hires as a condition for employment. Pre-employment drug screens are more common in the United States than in Canada, since Canadian law offers broader privacy protection for workers. However, there are some industries in which drug screens are normal in Canada, such as international trucking.
According to Bloomberg, companies in states that have legalized recreational or medicinal cannabis are increasingly dropping the requirement for potential employees to pass a pre-employment drug screen. One survey found that the share of companies in Colorado testing for marijuana fell by 11% in the year after legalization.
Why? A tightening job market, combined with the drug’s legal status, means businesses can no longer afford to count out workers who use.
Employment in Colorado hovers around 4 percent, making it difficult for employers to hire. Drug testing only further restricts the job pool, and in this market, it could really hold back growth and productivity. And with society growing more and more accepting of cannabis use (American approval of cannabis legalization is at an all-time high of 64%, according to a Gallup poll last October) , it simply isn’t worth the expense.
So what is the future of pre-employment drug screens in Canada? Since the tests are already restricted in this country, the legalization of cannabis may not move the needle as much as it has in the United States. Companies that conduct tests often do so based on proven safety concerns. The drug’s legal status may not be enough to convince them to stop screening for marijuana on pre-employment drug tests.
Pre-employment drug screening is a complex issue in Canada, and you’d be wise to consult an expert like DriverCheck before moving forward with plans to implement it in your workplace. Check out Drivercheck for standard drug test employment information.