Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 

July 16, 2018

Marijuana LegalizationBy David S. Reiter and Lorenzo Lisi

Last month the Senate passed Bill C-45, making the use of recreational marijuana a reality as of October 17, 2018. 

Employers, especially those engaging in operations with health and safety concerns, are legitimately concerned. Is an overhaul of their practices and policies required given the legalization of marijuana? In a word… No.

Workers do not have the right to be impaired at work. And workers do not have an absolute right to consume marijuana at work. This has already been decided and was again addressed this year by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in Aitchison v. L&L Painting and Decorating Ltd., 2018 HRTO 238.*

In that case, Aitchison suffered from chronic back pain and he self-medicated with marijuana. However, his employer had a zero tolerance policy in place, which required intoxicated workers to be removed from the workplace. In Aitchison’s case, his workplace was a swing stage on the outside of a building 37 floors above the ground. When he was found on the swing stage without a hard hat and untethered, while smoking marijuana, his employer sent him home. Aitchison said that it was his right to consume marijuana at work. His employer disagreed… and terminated him.

Aitchison complained to the tribunal, arguing that his employer’s zero tolerance policy was discriminatory. The tribunal disagreed. It found that

  • the policy against intoxication was rationally connected to a legitimate health and safety concern at the worksite
  • it had been adopted with an honest good faith belief that it was necessary to achieve health and safety
  • it was reasonably necessary to accomplish that purpose

This is not discriminatory. It lines up with the law that has been in place in Canada for the past 19 years, and it just makes sense.

What does this mean for employers? It means that policies concerning impairment at work are the means by which you address recreational use of marijuana. If your worksite is safety sensitive and intoxication poses a real and pressing concern to worker safetynot only can you implement a policy to prohibit marijuana consumption (or consumption of any substance which causes impairment) on the job, but you should already have one in place in light of your obligation to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of your workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Employers have been addressing impairment at work for years. The advent of recreational marijuana means only that the policy can no longer treat marijuana as an “illegal substance.” It does not mean that employees are permitted to use it at work or that they can show up to work impaired.

In other words, while things may change, in many ways they will stay the same.

David S. Reiter and Lorenzo Lisi are partners at Aird & Berlis LLP and members of the firm’s Litigation Group and Occupational Health & Safety Group, which Lorenzo Lisi leads. He has extensive experience in grievance and labour board litigation, injunctive proceedings, responding to union organizing and applications for certification, collective bargaining, and grievance arbitration; 416-865-7722; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. David S. Reiter regularly assists clients with respect to claims stemming from incidents and other operational liabilities, and with respect to the development and implementation of strategies aimed at managing and mitigating ongoing exposure. On the quasi-criminal side, David represents clients involved in investigations, prosecutions and appeals; 416-865-4734; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Both lawyers write and speak regularly.

Image courtesy of rexmedlen at Pixabay

* Read the decision here: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onhrt/doc/2018/2018hrto238/2018hrto238.html?resultIndex=1

 

OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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Changing Scene

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 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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Peers & Profiles

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 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

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Looking Back

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Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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Looking BackLooking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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