Workforce Development

Within the “four walls” of a work environment, much can assist or impede productivity. The team considers skills and education, labour market statistics and mobility, immigration and integration, employment of those who experience barriers, and the workplace environment itself: is it safe and welcoming? Are work behaviour expectations clear? Is it inclusive and accommodating? Do employers have all the tools they need to manage their workforce? The team raises and reviews the issues that can impede business success.

Terms of Reference

For further information or to join, contact Policy Coordinator Jasroop Gosal.

Media Releases

Consortium of Entrepreneurs Join Forces to Create Startup Surrey —Network to build and strengthen Surrey’s business, innovation and startup communities

Surrey Board of Trade Signs MOU with Surrey School Board

Surrey Board of Trade Receives Close to $200,000 in Funding Support for Surrey Labour Market Study


Labour Market Study

The Surrey Board of Trade has received close to $200,000 from the BC government to implement a labour market study to tackle the issues facing Surrey’s workforce. Please read more about it in our media release.

SBOT is currently working through implementing this project. If you are interested in more information or would like to participate through sponsorship, contact Jasroop Gosal.

Cannabis in the Workplace – Employer Support Guide and Sample Workplace Policy

The Surrey Board of Trade has released a support guide to help Surrey employers manage cannabis in the workplace.

Employer Guide

Sample Policy

“What is missing from the consultation and conversation on cannabis is workplace related issues and how the employer/employee will be impacted. This Employer Support Guide and supporting Sample Workplace Substance Management Policy is only part of Phase 1 to help businesses as Cannabis becomes legalized later this year,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.


“Drug impairment on the job is a complex challenge for employers at the best of times. With the pending legalization by the Federal government of recreational cannabis usage, employers will need to review what they know and what they need to know to be prepared.”

“Our objective is to inform employers and provide them with clarity and a foundation as they manage both the health and safety risks as well as the accommodation requirements related to both medical and recreational cannabis.”

The Surrey Board of Trade has been participated actively in the dialogue leading up to legalization of cannabis, specific to the missing piece of workplace impacts.

Further the Surrey Board of Trade submitted their feedback to the BC and Federal Government through the consultation period for how to regulate certain aspects of cannabis such as distribution, retail and a range of other matters. In April 2017, the Government of Canada introduced the Cannabis Act and amendments to the Criminal Code to address cannabis impaired driving with plans to make non-medical cannabis legal in Canada by July 2018.


1.     Employer considerations

2.     How to develop a workplace policy

3.     Accommodation considerations for both medical cannabis and recreational cannabis

4.     Also included is a Workplace Substance Management Policy that businesses can utilize as part of their overall Human Resources Policy

The Surrey Board of Trade does recommend that legal advice for Human Resource policies is necessary to ensure compliance.


For more information, contact:

Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade – 604-340-3899

About the Surrey Board of Trade

The Surrey Board of Trade attracts business to Surrey and supports business in Surrey. They represent 6,000 member contacts, providing businesses and organizations with economic opportunity, workplace development and education, international trade, government advocacy and business connections.

Resources & Presentations

These are for information and may not reflect SBOT’s official positions or policies.

2018 IEC-BC Employer Challenges in Attracting & Integrating Immigrant Talent into BCs Tech Sector – Executive Summary

2018 CDHowe: Risk & Resdiness: The Impact of Automation on Provincial Labour Markets

2018 City of Surrey Cannabis Legalization Framework Report

2018 StatCan How Temporary Were Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Rpt

2017 PwC Canada’s Golden Age Index

2017 BC’s Human Rights Commission Final-Report

BC Labour Market Report 2017

2017 SBOT’s Human Rights Commission Presentation

2017 The Talented Mr Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce

2017 StatCan Women Statistics Rpt`

Marijuana – Surrey Hot Topic Series Overview

SBOT and IECBC release strategic project report to link refugee skills and employer needs

BC Students information 2017 

2016 Canadian Chamber: Seizing Six Opportunities for More Clarity in the Duty to Consult and Accommodate Process



The issue:  Opportunities for Employers to develop their own skilled workforce

What it’s about:  In the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) Industrie 2030 report, 35% respondents to a Management Issues Survey indicated that attracting or retaining skilled labour was one of their three most pressing challenges.1 This topped the list of all possible responses. Further, CME reports that close to 60% of businesses anticipate skilled labour shortages in 5 years.


There are multiple strategies to attract youth to trade programs and to attract skilled immigrants. A third approach may be required to meet the growing skills gap: a flexible, easily accessible incentive program for employers to upgrade the skills of existing employees and potential hires to meet their specific skill requirements.


A Google search for “Canadian skills gap” yields about 349,000 results, mostly news-media and “grey” literature articles. Anecdotally, employers decry the lack of skills, which leave positions unfilled. Unemployed or underemployed university graduates decry the lack of opportunities in their fields. Industry associations, such as CME, advocate for developing a stronger skilled workforce in Canada as part of their Industry 2030 reports.2

Loosening immigration and temporary foreign worker regulations to assist employers access skilled labour or introducing the trade careers earlier in the education stream to foster a change of perceptions regarding employment prospects are often proposed. One concept that has yet to be brought forward in any substantive form is using tax credits to provide incentives for personal or in-house training.

Despite a variety of programs, grants and tax incentives there is no over-arching flexible opportunity to encourage employers and employees to work together to fill any skills gap. Employers spend less on training than in previous decades3 and attracting good workers has become challenging since wages have stagnated.4

There are a number of programs that provide some incentives through grants and other tax credits, however they are limited in various ways to specific demographics and circumscribed circumstances. The Canada – BC Job Grant provides up to $10,000 to employers per employee. However, the grant only applies to certain demographics, is available for a certain period of the year (April through August), must be applied for well in advance of that training period, and it comes in the form of a reimbursement for only two-thirds of the cost requiring the employer and/or employee to pay for tuition up front.5 There are tax credits available through WorkBC for very specific industries and activities.6 There is a federal wage subsidy program for youth only.7 And for older workers, there is an employment assistance program for re-training – but only if the worker is unemployed, in a community experiencing high unemployment or economic downturns.8 The best program by far is the Training Tax Credit for apprenticeships through ITA.9

The targeted nature of grants and credits are very helpful to employers to onboard minorities and the sometimes hard to employ. However, if an employer requires a very specialized skill set and has an employee who, with a bit of training, could fill the gap, there is little to support either party, particularly for small to medium sized entities.10

Employees, whether full or part-time, in their chosen career or underemployed based on their degree attainment bear some responsibility for their own training, but many are caught with student debt and minimum wage positions.11 Workers cannot gain experience because employers are reluctant to take on those who may require additional skills mentoring. Full time workers with families are unable to shoulder the high cost of tuition that is required for them to keep up with the changing nature of their employment. This is particularly true for positions that are becoming more vulnerable with the rapid advances in technology.12 Further, employees and/or students are eligible for a small tax deduction for tuition fees,13 but effective January 1, 2017, related education and textbooks deductions were eliminated.14

Employers in Ontario were asked why they are reluctant to train, especially the small and medium enterprises who are not training their employees in any substantive manner. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Essential Skills Ontario (2014) concluded:

Employers are not training due to a couple of key factors, including cost, risk of turnover and ‘poaching,’ and a lack of human resource capacity. The success of employer-driven training programs is contingent on employer engagement. It is vital that government design training and employment programs so that they overcome these barriers. Training and employment programs should be easy to access for businesses, offer flexible training options to the workers who need it, and make room for not-for-profit and private service providers to play an intermediary role in the new training and employment system. [Emphasis added]

Similarly, employers need to get more engaged in building the skills of their employees. Ontario’s population is aging and our workforce is shrinking. Some 28 percent of OCC members are having trouble filling job vacancies….15

BC’s situation of aging workers and the need for specialized skills would, no doubt, be similar to what the researchers for Ontario found. And, as listed, programs for BC employers are limited and at times difficult – more a challenge and a barrier than an incentive. Streamlining opportunities and simplifying application processes would greatly enhance the ability of employers, particularly the small and medium sized entities, to engage in developing their own workforce.

Employers no longer have the luxury of hiring a made-to-order employee as the nature of the labour force has changed; and, employees no longer have job security as the nature of their work is rapidly changing due to advances in technology. An over-arching strategy of incentives for skills-upgrading on the job would encourage employers and employees to fill their own gaps with their own resources, particularly when employees have the opportunity to tailor their skills sets to the need at hand.

SBOT recommends that the federal government:

1. Develop an easily accessible and understood portal to the tax credits and grants currently available for individually-funded and employer-sponsored education expenditures,
2. Expand tax credits and grants and be more flexible to assist businesses fill diverse and specific skills gaps as they emerge.


1 Industrie 2030, Manufacturing Growth, Innovation and Prosperity for Canada, CME, CMC. 2016. P.15. 2 Industrie 2030, Manufacturing Growth, Innovation and Prosperity for Canada. CME, CMC. 2016. P.20.
3 Ontario employers spent $1,200 in 1993 decreasing to $700 in 2010.
4 Morissette, Rene, et al. The Evolution of Canadian Wages over the Last Three Decades. Statistics Canada – Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series. 11F0019M-No.347.
6 Training Tax Credit 7 “Get Youth Working” for BC, 15-29 years old, provides a $2,800 hiring incentive.
8 Funding for Employment Assistance for Older Workers
10 Employer/employee tax deductions for scholarships, etc., “In this situation, the amount of the scholarship or bursary is considered to be employment income for the employee or former employee.” http://www.cra-
11 Dehaas, Josh. “Entry-level” jobs are getting harder to find. Macleans. April 5, 2014.
12 Hennessy, Angela. “As well or better than humans”: Automation set for big promotions in white-collar job market. February 28, 2017.
13 Eligible tuition fees:
14 Effective January 1, 2017, the federal education (a $ amount x #of months) and textbook tax credits will be eliminated.
15 Holmes, Andrea and Josh Hjartarson. Moving Forward Together: an Employer Perspective on the Design of Skills Training Programs in Ontario. Ontario Chamber of Commerce. 2014.

This policy was adopted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce members in 2017.

The issue: Refugees

The Surrey Board of Trade is the co-chair of the Surrey Local Immigrant Partnership (LIP) coalition of local service providers focusing on the needs of new immigrants and refugees. We are the only LIP coalition in B.C. with business at the table in a leadership capacity.

In 2016, after much debate, Canada accepted approximately 40,000 Syrian refugees through a mix of public and private sponsorship programs. Surrey became home to nearly half of those arriving in BC: 44% of 1,700, up 23% of all refugees combined the previous year. Approximately 60% are under the age of 18. (Immigrant Services Society of BC – NB, figures do not include privately sponsored refugees in Surrey.)


Most of the refugees do not speak English, have varying levels of trauma and medical needs, and are learning how to adapt to Canadian society. Their day-to-day settlement needs – finding appropriate housing, furniture, appropriate clothing, food and living costs, enrolling children in school, figuring out the public transit system, finding their way to medical appointments, and finding social and emotional support networks – takes the majority of their time in the first year. In addition, the emotional toll of having left loved ones behind has an understandable impact on their resettlement efforts. Service providers such as Options and DIVERSEcity have done their best to accommodate, but waitlist for services, English Language training, basic job-skills training are long.. A new Syrian-Canadian association was developed in Guildford to help alleviate the pressure on services, providing food and translation assistance. The Surrey School District’s Welcome Centre is working with the Syrian students (approximately 600 expected to be enrolled by end of year). The Surrey Food Bank experienced a jump in requests with Syrian refugee families signing on.

Progress is slow to move Syrians off supports and in to stable employment. According to a recent survey of Syrian refugees by the Immigrant Services Society of BC, 76% of respondents are in federally funded adult English classes or LINC classes, 51% on waitlists have waited an average of 4 months, 20% are taking training/education other than English towards economic integration. Only 17% are employed either full or part time, with 59% of those in Manufacturing, Construction and Trades. Of those not currently employed, 64% are actively looking. A majority of respondents, 66%, are using the food bank regularly.

The concern is that the Federal support for publicly sponsored refugees is only for one year. Refugees then move to Provincial funding, which in BC is much less with the average family losing roughly $348/month. Funding varies based on size of family and housing needs, as well as health, language instruction and employment services. However, the provincial funding, though similar in base amount, does not include transportation allowances and housing supplements, leading to a substantial decrease in support especially in the tight housing /rental market of the Lower Mainland.

Given that it is unreasonable to expect refugees to find sustainable employment within a year of arrival due to waitlists for language and job skills training, as well as family health and emotional needs and the challenges of integration to a very different society, service providers are now advocating for the provincial support to be increased to help mitigate the impact of transition funding source.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, December 4: The B.C. government said it is continuing to look at the issue. The province said its supports for low-income individuals can include subsidized housing and child-care subsidies. It said refugees who are eligible for disability assistance could also receive more support than they did under the federal government.

These measures, if implemented, will help. Employment and English language training, essential for economic integration, however, are still Federally funded and waitlists are long. BC currently has the highest waitlist with over 5,000 permanent residents looking for spaces, the majority in Surrey (ISS of BC report), and this prior to the influx of Syrian refugees.


A number of the Syrian refugees have various education backgrounds such as engineering, or other professional credentials. Many have had their education interrupted and would like to continue. However, with lengthy waitlists for English instruction that will expedite employment opportunities, a provincial “top up” of the income assistance (IA) funding will assist Syrian and other refugee families transition until their English becomes relatively proficient. Two key areas are being suggested including the reinstatement of bus passes for all employable income assistance recipients including refugees who must avail of BC income assistance (BC IA). For those BC IA recipients living outside communities without public transit eg Syrians have now settled in 69 different communities throughout BC then a cash equivalent would be provided. Without a transportation allowance it makes it extremely difficult for people to find work and/or attend English and job related training. The other policy area relates to wage claw back mechanism while on BC IA. The wage claw back portion should be increased to fifty percent (50%) or higher in order for especially refugee newcomers to gain Canadian work experience without significant claw back of benefits. Currently the federal government provides all government assisted refugees with the ability while on federal income support to earn fifty percent (50%) of their monthly income support without claw back.

It should be noted that between 1979 and 1981, Canada accepted 60,000 “boat people” from Southeast Asia. Within a decade, 86% of those former refugees were working, healthy and spoke English with some proficiency, achieving the basic criteria for success set out by academic Morton Beiser in his landmark study of their integration into Canadian society (Strangers at the Gate: The Boat People). They were less likely to use social services and more likely to have jobs than the average Canadian. One in five was self-employed. They weren’t a drain on the taxpayer—they were taxpayers.

This mirrors the experience in Germany, where a 2012 study found residents with foreign citizenship paid $218 billion more in taxes than they received in social benefits. German officials have been smart to cast their willingness to accept a half-million asylum seekers each year as not just a humanitarian gesture, but as wise economic policy. In December 2015, Vancity Credit Union released a report entitled From Crisis to Community: Syrian Refugees and the B.C. Economy. The report outlined that Syrian refugees settling in British Columbia would generate at least $563 million in local economic activity over the next 20 years. 2

Like Germany, Canada has a rapidly aging population. Two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) Canadians are currently retiring annually with future projections to reach 400,000 in the near future. In fact, in December 2016, the Department of Finance released a report that indicated that the federal debt could double to $1.5 trillion by 2050-51. The report points to the major economic challenge caused by the gradual retirement of baby boomers. The demographic shift is expected to shrink work-force participation, erode labour productivity and drive up expenditures for things like elderly benefits. At the same time, the Advisory Council on Economic Growth advised the Government of Canada to increase immigration levels to 450,000 annually as one step to address the projected challenges to the Canadian economy. On October 31, 2016 Minister McCallum announced a new immigration baseline of 300,000 per year starting in 2017 along with a signal of future higher immigration levels and a multi-year three-five (3-5 year) immigration levels plan. According to a Conference Board of Canada report we’ll need to attract 350,000 immigrants annually by 2035, up from 260,404 in 2014.

What’s needed is not just a discussion of how to facilitate immigration—of refugees and others—but how to ensure our new residents integrate swiftly into the economy. Germany has had success with an “early intervention” model that identifies skilled refugees and pairs them with opportunities as soon as possible. But all of this requires a shift in thinking. Done properly, bringing refugees into our country isn’t about charity. It’s about investing in the future of business —both theirs and ours.


Statistically, only about 10% of refugees find employment in their first year in Canada. The concern is the need for the Province to support families that the Federal government have accepted until they are sufficiently employable through English and other training. This will be a draw on provincial resources.

There is a need to ensure Syrian families continue to be supported beyond the one year federally-funded period at a level that provides sufficient economic security to continue with English and employment related training. Recognizing the challenge to provincial resources, once employed, Syrians will be able to contribute back to BC and Canada through taxes as well as economic activity in their community.


That the Provincial Government works with the Federal Government:

1.     To extend the Federal financial support of refugees from one year to three years.

2.     To enhance education and career planning supports for refugees.

The issue: Marijuana and the Workplace: What’s needed to prepare for legalization legislation.

What it’s about: Drug impairment on the job is a complex challenge for employers at the best of times. With the pending legalization by the Federal government of recreational marijuana usage, employers are reviewing what they know and what they need to know to be prepared.


With that purpose at the forefront, these recommendations encompass general and specific requests for clarity and guidance for employers large and small, unionized or not, safety-sensitive or not.


A preliminary review of recent (within the past 5 years) and relevant (Canadian) literature (including peer reviewed academic literature) reveals three general foci: adolescent usage concerns, non-alcoholic drug-impaired driving, and accommodation for medical marijuana usage. Workplace research is minimal and tends to be reliant on case law findings arising from appealed dismissals.

The recently released report of the Task Force on Cannabis legalization and Regulation, “A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada,” likewise concerns itself with adolescence and impaired drivers. The section on workplace safety is 1½ pages and from which, three of the Task Force’s 83 recommendations are relevant:

• Facilitate and monitor ongoing research on cannabis and impairment, considering implications for occupational health and safety policies,
• Work with existing federal, provincial and territorial bodies to better understand potential occupational health and safety issues related to cannabis impairment, and
• Work with provinces, territories, employers and labour representatives to facilitate the development of workplace impairment policies. (P. 29)

In April the Federal government introduced Bill C-45 respecting cannabis and set out the purpose of the Act to protect public health and public safety but does not specifically refer to the workplace.

In B.C., both the B.C. Human Rights Code1 and WorkSafe BC have bearing on employment guidance. In the Human Rights Code, there is no specific definition for impairment; however, Section 13 (1) states “A person must not (b) discriminate against a person regarding employment or any term or condition of employment because of … physical or mental disability…; nor can any person discriminate in regard to accommodation (Section 8) based on physical or mental disability without reasonable justification.” This is relevant to marijuana usage as drug dependence (addiction) is considered a disability.2 Accommodation is required up to the point of undue hardship, where the cost of reasonable and practical steps are too difficult or expensive.3 The bar for employers to prove this is very high.4

Worksafe BC regulations provides some guidance:5

4.20 Impairment by alcohol, drug or other substance

(1) A person must not enter or remain at any workplace while the person’s ability to work is affected by alcohol, a drug or other substance so as to endanger the person or anyone else.
(2) The employer must not knowingly permit a person to remain at any workplace while the person’s ability to work is affected by alcohol, a drug or other substance so as to endanger the person or anyone else.
(3) A person must not remain at a workplace if the person’s behaviour is affected by alcohol, a drug or other substance so as to create an undue risk to workers, except where such a workplace has as one of its purposes the treatment or confinement of such persons.

Note: In the application of section 4.20, workers and employers need to consider the effects of prescription and non-prescription drugs, and fatigue, as potential sources of impairment. There is a need for disclosure of potential impairment from any source, and for adequate supervision of work to ensure reported or observed impairment is effectively managed.

While various guidelines exist and templates can be found for employers to use to develop onsite alcohol and substance use policies, (with caveats in the literature regarding which ones would be better), what is lacking in all the literature is clarity in definitions and clear guidelines for employers.

There are two separate issues to consider: medical marijuana users and recreational usage on the job. For medical marijuana, the rules are quite clear regarding accommodation. Insofar as an employer can, those with appropriate medical documentation are accommodated and only actual impairment at work, not usage, would be grounds for further action up to dismissal. The challenge is determining what constitutes impairment.6 Under current Federal criminal law, the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), medical marijuana patients must have a medical document from a health care practitioner to legally purchase and consume marijuana:

8 (1) A medical document provided by a health care practitioner to a person who is under their professional treatment must indicate

a) The practitioner’s given name, surname, profession, business address and telephone number, facsimile number and email address, if applicable, the province in which the practitioner is authorized to practise their profession and the number assigned by the province to that authorization and, if applicable, their facsimile number and email address;
b) The person’s given name, surname, and date of birth;
c) The address of the location at which the person consulted with the practitioner;
d) The daily quantity of dried marihuana, expressed in grams, that the practitioner authorizes for the person; and
e) The period of use.7

For medical marijuana usage, therefore, the challenge for an employer is to determine whether the documentation and allowable amounts can lead to impairment up to the point, as expressed by WorkSafe BC, of undue risk. This does not address potential decreased productivity, the impact of usage and/or accommodation on other employees, and the overall costs of accommodation even if not up to point of undue hardship. What employers and employees need is a workable definition of impairment, and a tool to assist in determining impairment, such as a universally applicable checklist for non-medically trained supervisors. Further, employers and employees, particularly those without an in-house Human Resources department – such as small and medium sized entities – would greatly benefit from having a readily identifiable regulatory authority that could provide consistent, standardized documentation and up to date information.

Recreational users (legalized or not) would be treated as other substance users and potential abusers, according to the literature.8 However, again, it is the level of impairment, rather than usage itself, that provides grounds for employer action up to and including dismissal. Key to whether employers have any sway is the existence of written policies outlining a clear statement of drug usage on the job, the levels of graduated disciplinary steps, and an invitation for disclosure with accommodation considered. Recreational users may or may not be addicted – a determination that is difficult without self-disclosure; and addiction is considered a disability requiring accommodation. Until that point, an employer’s “duty to accommodate does not extend to the point of accommodating an employee that is not properly medically authorized.”9

Safe Workplaces

In safety-sensitive workplaces, drug use can lead to serious injury or death. In its submission to the Task Force, national oil and gas safety association Enform stated that, “marijuana use is incompatible with working in a safety-sensitive environment.”10 Employers have both a legal and a moral obligation to provide safe workplaces. This legal requirement is enshrined in provincial occupational health and safety legislation, and in Section 217.1 of the Criminal Code. Ensuring workers in safety-sensitive roles are not impaired by legal or illegal substances is a key component of fulfilling that obligation.

Limitations on Testing

Marijuana is a substance with complicated effects on the body, and legal substances like alcohol do not provide useful comparisons. Testing for alcohol impairment is straightforward – the quantity of alcohol in the bloodstream is a reliable indication of how intoxicated an individual is at the moment of testing. THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, can remain in the bloodstream of users for days or weeks after the intoxicating effects have worn off. Furthermore, there is no “breathalyzer” equivalent for marijuana, which would provide a clear indication of current intoxication and impairment. Complicating matters further, there is no “.08” for marijuana, no standard legal limit or cutoff that can be used in impaired driving cases, for example.

The limits of testing technology have significant impacts on Canadian workplaces. Entrop v. Imperial Oil allowed random alcohol testing for safety-sensitive positions, but not random drug testing, because a breathalyzer can reliably prove current impairment, whereas drug testing techniques cannot.11 This is further confirmed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s (CHRC) Policy on Alcohol and Drug Testing, which considers random drug testing an unreasonable infringement of privacy rights, as it cannot reliably determine current levels of impairment.12 Under these guidelines, drug testing can only be carried out as a bona fide occupational requirement in safety-sensitive positions, with reasonable cause or after an accident has occurred.13 As the federal government has not yet established a legal limit for marijuana impairment, or the necessary testing protocols, the validity of workplace testing has largely been left to the courts to decide. Federal legislation includes new provisions which would allow Cabinet to set per se limits for marijuana-impaired driving, similar to a 0.08 BAC for alcohol impairment. This is consistent with the advice of The Task Force, which recommended further investment and research into both a per se impairment limit and the development of a roadside testing protocol.14 These innovations would serve as a major step towards rationalizing the conflicts that currently exist between an employer’s obligation to provide a safe workplace, and an employee’s right to privacy. We recommend that the research and development of impairment limits and roadside testing protocols be used to develop legal limits and testing protocols for safety-sensitive workplaces.

There are many guides and helpful suggestions available online. What is lacking, however, is clarity for employers along with guidance that provides assurance that the information by which they operate is best practice and in line with legislation in existence and anticipated.

SBOT Recommends that the federal government:

1. Create a standard testing protocol to detect marijuana impairment, with legal limits for both traffic safety and workplace safety prior to the legalization of marijuana.
2. Work with provinces and territories to ensure consistent regulation across Canada.
3. Provide clarity for employers by developing regulations concerning the use of medical marijuana in the workplace and its impact on health and safety procedures in conjunction with relevant provincial and territorial regulators,
4. Consult with industry, business and their representative associations to identify standardized policies and processes to deal with medical marijuana requirements and recreational usage that may lead to impairment in the workplace, in a manner that balances the rights and responsibilities of employers with the privacy and rights of employees.
5. Allow a two-year implementation window to address the workplace safety recommendations contained within the Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada.


2 Lynch QC, Jennifer. Human Rights and Employer Responsibility to Accommodate Disability in the Workplace, Visions: BC’s mental Health and Addictions Journal, 2009, 5 (3), pp 9-10.
4 Bhalloo, Shafik, and Alisha Parmar. Medical Marijuana in the Workplace—Don’t Weed Out Your Employees Just Yet! The Advocate. 74, 2016. Pp 687-696
6 Brown, Shelley. Road Map to Weed in the Workplace: legal Considerations as Legalization Approaches. Canadian HR Reporter; Oct 31, 2016. 29, 18 ProQuest. P.16
8 Brown, Road Map. P.16
9 Bhallo and Parmer, The Advocate. P.691
13 Ibid.

This policy was adopted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce members in 2017.

The issue: Labour Mobility across provinces in Canada

What it’s about: An Alberta accountant has a chance at a major promotion in the next province. But the accountant is married to a teacher, who would need additional courses to be certified in B.C. Does one spouse lose an opportunity, because the family has one income until the teacher re-certifies? After April 2009, it will not be an


issue in Alberta or B.C. After that date, people in the trades and professions can accept opportunities in the other province without a delay to re-certify, the time and expense of additional training, or a break in earnings. And employers in Alberta and B.C. can draw on the entire workforce of both provinces. This is the employment future in our two provinces under the most comprehensive free trade agreement in Canada. It could be your future, even if you do not live here. We believe our agreement is a model for the rest of Canada. Under the TILMA (Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement), a business registered in one province automatically is recognized in other provinces ⎯ no residency required, no added cost. Government procurement including professional services like accounting, engineering and architecture, is open to suppliers in both provinces, at lower thresholds. Commercial trucks need not be re-registered for temporary travel in the other province. Farmers will no longer have to restack their loads of hay at the border to comply with different transport regulations in the other province. Of interest, professional and trade certifications will be mutually recognized where scopes of practice are similar, and without undermining the authority of regulatory bodies. That means TILMA will be an open door to employment opportunities and choice.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: Resolution supported by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in 2008 to replace the Agreement on Internal Trade.

The result: TILMA was approved and includes the governments of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan under this new Western Partnership Trade Agreement (2010). Ongoing watch for the rest of Canada – Provinces did meet and agreed to TILMA principles. More work to be done.