101: Organizing in Weed
Updated: Jul 26
your boss is a dud and you aren’t making any progress.
We get that question a lot and want you to know we have all been there. Below are a few of your options and tips to help organize your workplace for the better.
Understand Your Rights and the Responsibilities of the Employer
Working in Canada means that you have protections under your provincial or territorial labour act. Get familiar with them because knowing is half the battle!
Some Laws In Ontario *more provinces to come*
The Employment Standards Act
This act sets out minimum standards at work such as wages, overtime, hours, vacation, rest periods and more.
The Ontario Labour Relations Act
This act talks about your rights and protections to organize within a workplace WITHOUT fear of reprisal
The Ontario Health and Safety Act
This act sets out all minimum health and safety standards such as appointing health and safety representatives and committees, requirements for policies like violence and harassment, and how hazards and injuries need to be documented and dealt with
The Ontario Human Rights Code
This code protects you from harassment and discrimination in specific areas of everyday life, including at work, based on 12 different protected grounds.
The Cannabis Act (federal)
This is the law that legalized the recreational use of Cannabis across Canada and regulated its consumption in addition to changes in the criminal code under Bill C-46
The Cannabis Control Act and The Cannabis Licence Act
These provincial acts regulate the sale, distribution, licensing and possession of recreational cannabis in Ontario.
NEED SPECIFICS ON THESE LAWS? Contact Us for Questions!
Document Anything and Everything
Take Pictures, record videos and get everything promised to you in writing with dates, times and names.
Try to be as covert as possible and don’t give away your position right away.
The more evidence you have of promises not being kept or even being made will assist you in whatever route you choose to organize
You can’t dispute the facts or hard evidence!
Make a Call to the Right People
So you have your evidence, checked the laws and see some things aren’t quite right.
You asked your boss about it but they aren’t working with you?
Now would be a good time to call the people who regulate and enforce these laws.
The Ministry of Labour (ESA, Health and Safety, Labour Relations)
The AGCO (Cannabis Licensing)
Your Local Workers Action Center
Ontario Human Rights Legal Center
Or email/ text us for suggestions!
Talk to your Coworkers:
You have noticed these things happening in your orbit but what about with your coworkers?
The best method to do so is being methodical. Don’t rush the process. Naturally people will come to you about their discontent.
Are they upset about things too or have they even noticed?
Building solidarity begins with having these important conversations and chances are they will care about things too as many of these things, like health and safety, impact everyone!
Use the common discontent of the group by introducing the idea of unionization. Gauge the room, you find out who you can trust. When the climate is right, and your certain you have enough vote.
If you need help approaching the conversation check back for helpful tips in our toolkit.
Be an active listener but remember to hear them out, be patient, and approach with empathy/the common goal to improve work for everyone:
Start a Union Drive
The best way to hold the boss accountable is through solidarity and mutual power.
Starting a union isn’t about punishing your employer, it is about having a seat at the table and say in your work regardless of who is in charge
A union can help with formalizing the process of getting problems solved and fighting for fairness at work.
Under the Labour Relations Act you have the right to organize without reprisal from your boss
To start in Ontario, you want to get 50% of your coworkers to sign union cards, which initiates a vote. Then you need 60% of your coworkers to vote in favour of the union to represent you.
Once you have voted in favour, then you bargain for a contract that everyone mutually agreed upon.
It is important to note that if the union doesn’t work for you, you can use your collective power to de-ratify.
The key is that workers hold the balance of power through democracy in their workplace.