Cannabis on campus

The official legalization date for recreational cannabis possession, sale, and use is October 17, 2018.  The expectations around cannabis and the workplace will not change significantly once cannabis is legal.  The information provided on this website is intended primarily for UVic employees.  Additional information for UVic students is available on the Office of Student Life website.

Information for UVic employees

Cannabis in the workplace

Cannabis impairment in the workplace is not a new issue for B.C. workplaces.  Employers and employees already have a shared duty to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and others.

Will legalization mean employees can use recreational cannabis in the workplace?  In a word – no.  The health and safety of employees, students, and community members must not be put at risk because of impairment. 

Responsibilities of employers

Employers are responsible to protect against workplace impairment by not allowing any person to enter or remain at work if they are physically or mentally impaired by alcohol, a drug or other substance.  This includes employees, contractors or any other person who is on campus and interacting with UVic personnel.

Adequate supervision is required to ensure reported or observed impairment is effectively managed.  In every case of workplace impairment, the most important responsibility is to ensure people are safe.

Responsibilities of employees

Employees must show up fit for duty and remain so during work.  Under WorkSafe legislation, employees are obligated to advise their employer if their ability to safely perform their work is impaired for any reason, and to not knowingly do work where their impairment may create an undue risk to themselves or anyone else.

All employees are expected to take reasonable precautions to avoid impairment while at work due to alcohol, drugs or other substances, including cannabis.

Medical cannabis

Medical cannabis has been available for over a decade and must be authorized by a doctor.  UVic will continue to accommodate employees following established procedures which, in part, requires an authorization from a doctor and is managed on a case-by-case basis.  More information about medical accommodations is available from Human Resources.

Employees, especially those involved in high-hazard work (such as driving, operating heavy machinery, or working with hazardous materials), have a general duty to advise their employer if they are taking medications with side-effects that include impairment. 

Laws for workplace impairment

The B.C. Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) require employers and employees to protect the health and safety of all workers in the workplace.

Impairment by alcohol, drugs or other substances violates this basic requirement, as described in the OHSR, s. 4.19 and 4.20.

Smoking Policy

Smoking or vaping cannabis on campus will only be permitted in designated areas as noted in the amended Smoking Policy (AD2405).  These areas are intended for students who reside on campus and are of legal age (19 years or older).   

The designated cannabis smoking areas are shown on this map.

Are there cannabis smoking benches on campus?

Yes.  There are 3 designated cannabis smoking areas that are accessible to adult students living on campus as noted on this map.  Each area includes a bench marked with a "green stripe". 

Is cannabis smoking allowed at the other smoking benches with "red stripes"?

No.  Cannabis smoking is only allowed at the designated cannabis smoking areas.

How will the amended Smoking Policy be enforced?

It is expected that all members of the campus community will voluntarily comply with the Smoking Policy.  

Can I redirect someone who is smoking cannabis in a non-designated area?

Yes.  Any member of the campus community may redirect a person to the nearest designated cannabis smoking bench.  Campus Security will also continue to educate and redirect smokers to the designated areas if assistance is required.

Can employees consume recreational cannabis at work?

No.  All employees are expected to take reasonable precautions to avoid impairment while at work due to alcohol, drugs or other substances (including cannabis) in accordance with WorkSafeBC regulations.

Can I expense my receipts for recreational cannabis?

No.  The purchase of recreational cannabis cannot be expensed and will not be reimbursed by the University.

Can I grow cannabis on campus?

No.  The only exception is for research purposes where all regulatory requirements and approvals are in place.

Where can I get assistance with a question or concern related to cannabis?

For employment related issues, employees should approach their direct supervisor and managers should contact their HR Consultant or Faculty Relations Consultant.

For questions/feedback about the Smoking Policy, contact .

For additional information regarding healthy lifestyle choices and programs available to support you, including resources for substance use and addictions, please visit our confidential Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP).  

For immediate assistance, contact EFAP at 1-844-880-9142.

Cannabis: Cannabis is a broad term used to describe the various products derived from the leaves, flowers and resins of the Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants, or hybrids of the two. These products exist in various forms and are used for different purposes (e.g. medical, recreational, industrial).

Cannabis vs. marijuana: The federal government has adopted the term “cannabis” to describe cannabis products in general, as opposed to the commonly-used term “marijuana” (which only describes parts of the plant).

Cannabinoids – One of a class of chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in animals and humans, cannabinoids can be naturally extracted from cannabis plants. Over 104 different cannabinoids have been identified, with varied potencies depending on the plant or product. The most commonly-known cannibinoids are THC and CBD:

  • THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol): has therapeutic effects and is the compound primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis
  • CBD (cannabidiol): has therapeutic but no psychoactive effects

"Using" cannabis: consuming cannabis in its dry form or when mixed or processed into another product such as an edible, a concentrate, including hashish, a liquid, lotion, or other product for non-medical purposes.

Non-medical purposes: consuming cannabis for purposes other than medical use (e.g., for enjoyment, leisure, amusement), socially, for spiritual, lifestyle and other, similar uses.