511 Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages, Illicit Drugs or Recreational Cannabis at Work, All Employees

The University is committed to the health and safety of all employees. The use of illicit drugs and the inappropriate use of alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication can adversely affect job performance, the work environment and the safety and wellbeing of employees. The consumption of alcoholic beverages, illicit drugs (including prescription medication that have not been lawfully prescribed), or recreational cannabis (collectively “Substance”) during working hours and/or break periods or presenting for work under the influence of a Substance, is strictly prohibited.

In the workplace, employees must refrain from the use, consumption, possession, control, distribution, offering, sale, transfer or furnishing of alcohol or illicit drugs or the possession of implements or paraphernalia for illicit drug use.  For the purpose of this Policy, a “Workplace” is defined as all places University employees are required to spend time in the course of carrying out University business or representing the University. This includes without limitation, University premises, including parking lots, University vehicles/personal vehicles used in the business of the University, training sites, locations of work-related or social functions, working remotely and the premises of clients and other third parties. 

Employees are expected to arrive to work and remain fit to work. “Fit for Work ” is defined as being able to safely and acceptably perform one’s assigned duties without impairment due to the use or after-effects of alcohol, cannabis, illicit drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications. No employee may enter or remain upon the premises of any workplace while the employee’s behaviour and ability to work is so affected by a Substance or a medication as to endanger the health and safety of that employee or any other person. 

Employees utilizing medically approved prescription medication or other over-the-counter medication that may give rise to impairment in the workplace must communicate to their Supervisor or Occupational Health and Wellness, any potential risks, limitation or restriction requiring modification of duties or temporary reassignment. Where medically approved prescription medication is utilized and an accommodation is required, a medical note will be requested.  It is required that employees must notify their supervisor if they are, or suspect they are, unfit for work for any reason, including due to Substance, prescription, or over-the-counter medication.  

The University is committed to accommodating employees who disclose that they have an alcohol or drug addiction consistent with the employer’s obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code.   

Employees are required to self-disclose an addiction to alcohol or drugs that may impair their job performance or compromise their or others’ health and safety. An employee with an addiction will not be disciplined for requesting assistance in overcoming their addiction or because of their participation or involvement in a rehabilitation effort. 

Supervisors and employees are reminded that counselling services are available through the University’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) or by contacting Occupational Health and Wellness at ohw@uoguelph.ca or (519) 824-4120 extension  52647 for more information.

Employees who violate the provisions of this policy, which includes a failure to self-disclose an alcohol or a drug addiction prior to a violation of the provisions of this Policy, will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination. Discipline will not be circumvented by a request for rehabilitation, or disclosure that the employee is already involved in treatment following a violation of the policy provisions. Supervisors should contact Human Resources (Staff Relations) or Faculty and Academic Staff Relations (FASR) for direction.

Nothing in this policy shall limit the responsible consumption of alcohol at University-sponsored social functions as authorized by the University, provided that the alcohol consumption is controlled so there is no inappropriate behaviour at the function or risk posed to the safety of individuals present or the community after the event.