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Travel Outside of Canada Post October 16, 2018

Much attention has been given to workplace policies and procedures regarding the use of cannabis by employees following the legalisation of the recreational use of cannabis in Canada effective October 17, 2018. Employers should also consider the impact of the change in Canadian law for employees who travel outside of Canada. Legalisation of cannabis in Canada does not change Canadian border rules or the laws of other countries regarding the use or possession of cannabis. Of particular note is that although the possession of cannabis is legal in some US states, possession of cannabis is illegal under US federal law and it is illegal to bring any form or quantity of cannabis into the United States.

The Canadian Border Services Agency has issued an advisory to Canadian travellers that previous use of cannabis or involvement in the legal cannabis industry could result in denial of entry to the United States. This may also be the case for other destinations as cannabis remains illegal in most countries.  US Customs and Border Protection Agency has issued a reminder to Canadian travellers that marijuana is a controlled substance and the sale, possession, production, distribution, or facilitation of medical and recreational marijuana is illegal under US federal law.  This approach is evident in recent reports of Canadian travellers who have permanently been banned from entry to the United States because of investments in American marijuana companies. 

If your employees are travelling outside of Canada and they have used cannabis or are involved in the legal cannabis industry, these employees should check the travel advice and advisories issued by the Canada Border Services Agency for their destination country. That advice and advisories may be found here Travel Advisories. In addition, employees should remember that when returning to Canada, bringing cannabis into the country remains illegal including cannabis used for medical purposes. Cannabis or products containing cannabis must be declared when entering Canada.

Going forward, employees travelling outside of Canada, particularly those involved in the legal cannabis industry, should be prepared for enhanced scrutiny and questioning when requesting entry to other countries, including the United States.

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Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 

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