Following the legalization of cannabis on October 17, 2018, CIU’s Human Rights Representative, Brother Murray Star, has been fielding questions from many accommodated CIU members who are being asked by the employer to disclose the medication they are taking.
Employees who are prescribed medical cannabis must be accommodated in the same way as employees who are prescribed any other medication. While every case must be assessed individually, members are encouraged to contact the union before informing the employer of their prescription for medical cannabis.
It is important to underline that employee and employer rights and obligations with respect to the duty to accommodate have not changed with the legalization of cannabis, nor have the protections with regards to disclosure of medical information. To implement appropriate accommodations that respect the dignity and privacy interests of people with disabilities, the focus should always be on the functional limitations associated with the disability, rather than a person’s diagnosis.
Generally, the employer does not have the right to know a person’s confidential medical information, such as the cause of the disability, diagnosis, symptoms or treatment, unless these clearly relate to the accommodation being sought. The employer’s right to information remains restricted. If members have concerns about the medical information that is being requested, they are encouraged to contact the union before they provide it.