University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Interim Smoking of Cannabis Policy

Category: Administration and Operations

Approval:  VPOC

Responsibility: Vice-Principal Finance and Administration

Date: 2018-10-15


Cannabis: Means any plant belonging to the genus Cannabis and any part of such a plant (including the phytocannabinoids produced by or found in such a plant, regardless of whether it has been processed or not), except a non-viable seed, a mature stalk without any leaf, flower, seed or branch, fibre derived from such a mature stalk, or, any part of the root of a cannabis plant, and, includes any substance or mixture of substances that contains or has in it any part of such a plant.

Smoking Device: Any product or device containing or delivering any substance intended for human consumption that can be used by a person in any manner for the purpose of inhaling vapor or aerosol from the product or device. The term includes any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as, without limitation, an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah, or vape pen, or under any other product name or descriptor.

Medical Cannabis: Cannabis, including constituents of Cannabis, THC and other cannabinoids, used as a physician-recommended form of medical therapy.

Smoke and Smoking: The inhaling, exhaling, burning, vaping, or carrying of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, Smoking Device or other apparatus used to consume Cannabis or any constituents of Cannabis. 

University Property: Any land owned, controlled, leased, used, or occupied by Queen’s University inclusive of buildings, learning spaces, open/outdoor spaces, workplaces, and university-owned Vehicle.

Vehicle:  Any and all modes used for transporting people or goods, such as a car, golf cart, truck, bus and motorcycle.

Purpose/Reason for Policy:

Queen’s University is committed to providing a safe, secure and healthy work, living and learning environment for all members of the university community and those that use University Property.

The university’s approach to managing Cannabis on University Property had been based on the Cannabis Act, 2017, which prohibited consumption of Cannabis in any public place, a workplace within the meaning of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, a vehicle or boat, or, any prescribed place.  On September 26, 2018, the Ontario Government announced the intention to align Smoking Cannabis with the Smoke Free Ontario Act.  The university has decided to regulate the Smoking of Cannabis on University Property in accordance with the previous legislative regime, largely because:

  • impairment is seen as a workplace hazard under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  The university has developed a Fitness for Work Guideline, applicable to all university employees.  Allowing the Smoking of Cannabis on University Property runs counter to this approach and increases the risk that employees could be impaired while at work; and,
  • to permit Smoking Cannabis on University Property would run counter to the direction of the university to move towards a smoke free environment.  The university has started the process of exploring this option for Queen’s through the work of the university’s Clean Air Steering Committee.

Scope of this Policy:

This policy applies to all University Property and all members of the university community, which includes but is not limited to all university employees, visiting professors and students (graduate, undergraduate, and continuing education), and to all those who use or are present on University Property, which includes but is not limited to volunteers, visitors, and contractors (collectively, “Visitors”),

All events, including conferences, hosted on University Property, are subject to this policy.  

This policy does not apply to Cannabis or Cannabis Accessories used on University Property for teaching and/or research purposes where the research meets all regulatory and ethics approval requirements and where all appropriate protections for environmental health and safety are in place and are approved by the Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

Policy Statement:

The Smoking of Cannabis is prohibited on University Property, except where Smoking it is pursuant to an accommodation plan entered into in accordance with the Accommodation of Disabilities in the Workplace Policy (faculty, staff and student employees) or through Student Wellness Services (students).

Smoking Cannabis is prohibited in any Vehicle on University Property, whether a personal, rental or university-owned vehicle.

Those Smoking Cannabis in areas surrounding the university are required to avoid littering and to comply with municipal by-laws and provincial legislation.  They are expected to be considerate of neighbouring residents, businesses and institutions.

The Smoking of medical Cannabis must be approved through an Accommodation Plan pursuant to the Accommodation of Disabilities in the Workplace Policy through Return to Work and Accommodation Services in Human Resources (faculty and staff) or through an Accommodation Letter from Student Wellness Services (students). If an individual is both an employee and a student and requires accommodation to Smoke Cannabis both as an employee and as a student, they will be required to obtain approval from both Return to Work and Accommodation Services and Student Wellness Services.  An accommodation to Smoke medical Cannabis will require the user to Smoke medical Cannabis only in places on University Property where tobacco smoking is permitted and the user will be required to produce satisfactory evidence of the need for a medical accommodation.

A visitor who is found to have violated this policy will be required to leave University Property, and may be subject to further restrictions regarding access to University Property, facilities, equipment, or Vehicles used for university business, unless the visitor can produce satisfactory evidence of a medical accommodation need.

Individuals who do not comply with this policy may be subject to penalties or discipline, up to and including the termination of employment and/or other relationship with the university in accordance with university policies or regulations and any applicable collective agreement.

Individuals may also be subject to civil, administrative or criminal action, independent of any university action, for violations of relevant laws, including municipal by-laws, regarding Cannabis.


All Members of the university community

  • All members of the university community and all Visitors are required to educate themselves on the expectations and requirements related to legalized Cannabis and to comply with the requirements of this policy. 


  • Employees are also required to educate themselves with respect to, and comply with, their responsibilities related to Cannabis and other impairing substances as outlined in the Fitness for Work Guideline.



In addition to the responsibilities outlined in the Fitness for Work Guideline, managers have the following responsibilities:

  • Take reasonable steps to make members of the university community connected with their department aware of this policy.
  • Work with Human Resources or Faculty Relations to resolve issues where an employee has potentially violated this policy.

Human Resources

Student Wellness Services

  • Ensure a student who discloses a disability requiring the Smoking of Cannabis is accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code.

Campus Security and Emergency Services

  • Respond to complaints of people suspected of Smoking Cannabis on University Property and educate them on the requirements of this policy.
  • Inform the appropriate department of instances where an employee is believed to have violated this policy.
  • Refer instances where a student is believed to have violated this policy to the Non-Academic Misconduct Intake Office.
  • Coordinate with Kingston Police in connection with criminal and/or provincial legislative breaches.

Department of Environmental Health & Safety

  • Communicate information about this policy through the department’s webpage and by the posting this policy on departmental Health and Safety boards.

Reporting Violations:

Any person who reports Cannabis use that is in violation of this or any other university policy, procedure or guideline for the purpose of seeking emergency medical assistance will not be subject to disciplinary action; this includes the person(s) making the report, the person who requires emergency medical assistance, and, any other witness(es) or bystander(s) present at the time of the medical emergency.

Contact Officer  
Date for Next Review 2019
Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

Fitness for Work Guidelines

Accommodation of Disabilities in the Workplace Policy

Disability Accommodation Guidelines

Individualized Disability Accommodation Procedures

Interim Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Policy Statement on Health and Safety

Queen's University Alcohol Policy

Return to Work Policy

Return to Work Procedure

Student Code of Conduct

Residence Community Standards (Handbook)

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Policy

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Procedure

The Athlete Guidelines for Behaviour, Summary of Infractions, and the Athletics and Recreation Non-Academic Misconduct Policy

Policies Superseded by this Policy None