Survey says your Canadian boss might be high

Canadian managers are more likely to be high on the job than you probably think.

Cannabis (marijuana) officially became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. And there’s a one in five chance your Canadian manager will be smoking it before work.

A new survey from Ipsos, commissioned by ADP Canada, has found that nearly one in five – 19% – of Canadian employees in managerial roles say they are least somewhat likely to consume cannabis for recreational purposes before going to work. And 14% say it’s at least somewhat likely they will consume cannabis during work hours.

Employees not in managerial roles, on the other hand, are more conservative in their plans. Only 7% of non-managers said they are at least somewhat likely use cannabis before work, and only 4% say they will likely use cannabis during work.

That 19% number is actually higher than the percent of the 14% of the general Canadian population that uses Cannabis regularly, according to a recent Statistics Canada poll. Meaning that managers might be bigger users than non-managers in general.

According to a media release from ADP 6% of survey respondents, all of whom are employed Canadians, believe their organizations will allow the use of cannabis for recreational purposes during work hours or before coming into work. Managers (10%) are more likely to say it will be allowed than non-managers (2%).

ADP calls this difference of opinion as a “disconnect” between employees and their managers.

“Changes in the workplace are always difficult to navigate, but it appears cannabis legalization for recreational purposes adds a particularly complex disconnect between the expectations and intentions of employers and their employees,” said Hendrik Steenkamp, Director, HR Advisory, ADP Canada. “It’s particularly interesting to see that employees without managerial responsibilities are more reserved in their expectations of personal use during working hours than their managerial counterparts.”

The “disconnect” may be in part because employees are unclear on their workplace rules regarding the use of drugs and alcohol, and many don’t even know they exist. And, given the evidence, your workplace policies might be more lenient than you think.

This is because managers  – who, if you recall, are more likely to be stoned at work – are significantly more likely to be aware of their workplace drug and alcohol policies than non-managers.

Seventy-five per cent of managers say they are aware of such policies in their places of employment, but only 64% of non-managers say the same. Seventeen per cent of non-managers say they don’t think their workplace has specified policies or guidelines to regulate drug and alcohol usage.

As to whether those places with policies are going to be revising them now that cannabis is legal, 36% of managers say that their organizations are introducing or revising their workplace policies and guidelines, and only 13% of non-managers say this is happening – with nearly half (49%) saying they don’t know whether their policies and guidelines are being updated or revised.

In other words, managers might want to do a better job of communicating these policies to their employees. It’s a good idea to do so. I once had an employee show up to work drunk at nine in the morning. One would think she would have known this was not allowed. But apparently not.

“It’s clear, managers need to have detailed, informed and thorough conversations with employees about what constitutes acceptable behaviour in the workplace when it comes to cannabis,” says Steenkamp.

Other findings of note from the study include:

  • 56% of managers and 53% of non-managers expect to see an increase in health and safety incidents
  • 43% of managers and 37% of non-managers expect to see an increase in absenteeism
  • 45% of managers and 48% of non-managers expect to see a decrease in productivity
  • 43% of managers and 44% of non-managers expect to see a decrease in quality of work

It’s not specified whether they think these decreases refer to the survey respondents own productivity and quality of work, or someone else’s.

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