With the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada, many Canadian workplaces are turning their attention to updating and strengthening their alcohol and drug policies. But does having an alcohol and drug policy really matter? Recent Conference Board research says yes.

In 2016, The Conference Board of Canada surveyed Canadian employers on how they are addressing problematic substance use. Over 70 percent of respondents reported having formal alcohol and drug policies, with most employers having had the policy in place for more than five years. The most common alcohol and drug programs offered by survey respondents included Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), wellness/health promotion/prevention programs, and return-to-work support. Employers with alcohol and drug policies reported greater positive impacts on EAP usage, alcohol and drug use in the workplace, injuries and accidents, absenteeism, treatment outcomes, productivity, and job performance when compared with employers without such a policy. These policies and programs will be of increasing importance as employers look to navigate the changes that will come with the legalization of recreational marijuana.