University issues response to legalization of recreational Cannabis

Following the enactment of the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45), recreational cannabis products will be legally consumable across Canada as of October 17, 2018. In preparation for the legalization, each province and territory has or is in the process of establishing regulations outlining legal minimum age, where you can buy it, where you can use it and how much you can possess.

In Ontario, these regulations include:

  • Individuals need to be 19 years of age or older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis and will be able to possess a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis in public.
  • Cannabis use will be permitted in locations where smoking tobacco is permitted under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017. Such as, in private residences, many outdoor public spaces (e.g. sidewalks and parks), designated guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns and controlled areas in long-term care homes.
  • Individuals will be able to purchase 30 grams of dry cannabis online at the Ontario Cannabis Store and grow up to four plants per residence. A private retail licensing model will be implemented on April 1, 2019, when the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will become the provincial regulator authorized to grant store licenses.

Given the provincial framework, effective October 17, 2018, individuals 19 years of age or older will be permitted to smoke cannabis on campus only in clearly marked designated smoking areas. At the same time, the University will commence a process to create a smoke-free campus by 2020. Once the University reaches this goal, smoking cannabis will no longer be permitted on campus.

Students who live in residence will not be permitted to smoke cannabis in their rooms, kitchen or any other common area, as well as cooking, baking or warming up a cannabis product for the purpose of creating edible cannabis. Cannabis products purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store, Ontario’s only legal place to buy recreational cannabis, will not be delivered to residences or any other location on campus.

“While it is everyone’s expectation that students will take the legalization of cannabis in stride and will attend classes and labs as they always have, if there are any disruptions to class that instructors are concerned about they should connect with their Department Head” says acting provost Jeff Berryman. “While it’s unlikely to be needed, the Student Code of Conduct and other policies are in place to support the academic mission of the University.”

From a workplace perspective, “the legalization of recreational cannabis has not changed the expectation and requirement that employees report to work fit for duty” says Rita LaCivita, vice-president, human resources. “In keeping with its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the University requires that all employees (faculty, staff, graduate and teaching assistants, student employees, etc.) report fit to work and remain fit to work.”

In addition, individuals in safety-sensitive positions are not permitted to consume cannabis while at work. According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a safety-sensitive position can be defined as one that, if not performed in a safe manner, can cause direct and significant damage to property, and/or injury to the employee, others around them, the public and/or the immediate environment.

Safety-sensitive positions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Campus Community Police
  • Individuals working at heights
  • Individuals who operate motor vehicles as part of their job duties
  • Individuals working in labs
  • Individuals working in a kitchen or serving/preparing food
  • Individuals operating machinery or equipment of any kind

To keep faculty, staff, and students informed, the University has launched the Legalization of Recreational Cannabis website ( This website includes University of Windsor resources such as the Cannabis at the University of Windsor Frequently Asked Questions; an information bulletin from the Vice-President, Human Resources, on the legalization of cannabis; and resources developed by various organizations designed to help faculty, staff, and students make informed decisions.