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HIGHLIGHTS
  1. Eight per cent of Canadians said they are allowed to use pot at work
  2. Six per cent believe cannabis use lowers workplace productivity versus 46 per cent a year ago
  3. Twenty-two per cent of Canadians now view cannabis more positively, 16 per cent more negatively

Cannabis legalization has had a less-than-expected impact on workplace performance, with just 8 per cent of employees permitted to use pot before, during and after the work day, according to an Ipsos survey that was commissioned by ADP Canada Co.

There was a lot of uncertainty and hype leading up to cannabis legalization last year, but so far, cannabis has not had a noticeable impact on the workplace or on workplace performance,” said Hendrik Steenkamp, director and HR adviser for ADP Canada, a human-resource management company.

Nearly one year after recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada, the study of 1,160 working adults interviewed across the country between Aug. 30 and Sept. 18 showed that only 6 per cent of Canadians believe cannabis has led to lower productivity at work. This is in stark contrast to a year ago, when 46 per cent expected cannabis use in the workplace would reduce productivity.

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The cannabis industry is closely watching Canadians’ perceptions of the product, which has held a stigma for decades due to its previous illegal status, as companies strive to attract new demographics to buy it for various purposes.

People’s perceptions of cannabis, however, remain largely unchanged nearly a year after adult-use pot was legalized in Canada. While nearly half of Canadians surveyed said their perception of recreational cannabis is unchanged from a year ago, 22 per cent view it more positively while 16 per cent said their perspective has turned negative.

Meanwhile, 8 per cent said they are permitted to use recreational cannabis during the workday, with 5 per cent saying they consume it before work and 4 per cent during work.

Seventy per cent of participants said they believe cannabis legalization had no impact on the quality of work being done, 71 per cent said it had no impact on absenteeism, 74 per cent said recreational cannabis had no impact on productivity, and 75 per cent said it had no impact on health and safety incidents.

These results are in stark contrast to responses one year prior, just ahead of adult-use cannabis legalization in October 2018, when 46 per cent of Canadians surveyed thought cannabis use in the workplace would reduce productivity and 40 per cent expected an increase in absenteeism.

This year, 6 per cent believe cannabis has decreased workplace productivity while 9 per cent said absenteeism increased.

The study showed confusion among employees about whether or not they are permitted to use cannabis during work. While 86 per cent of Canadians said their employer does not allow recreational cannabis during the workday, 12 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 claimed their employer permits it, whereas 6 per cent of those aged 35 to 54, and 3 per cent of those 55 years and older believed it is allowed.

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The study showed a disconnect regarding cannabis use in the workplace, with 13 per cent of managers stating that cannabis is accepted in the workplace compared with 3 per cent of non-managers. In line with this, managers are more likely to consume cannabis before, during and after work.

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