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Agenda and Speakers

Marijuana @ WorkFeb 14–15, 2018 Toronto

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

7:45 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:15 AM Opening Remarks from the Chair
Campbell <br />  
Director, Organizational Excellence, Learning and Leadership
The Conference Board of Canada
8:30 AM Plenary Session 1
Understanding Today's Marijuana

As president of one of the world's leading diversified cannabis companies, housing the world's most recognized marijuana production brand, Mark Zekulin has an informed perspective as Canada moves toward cannabis legalization. Accordingly, he will share insights on how today's marijuana differs from earlier eras both in potency and safety. Mark will also discuss Canopy's quality control processes that regulate the product consistency of marijuana's active ingredients. As well, he will provide an overview of Canopy's involvement in medical marijuana and how the company is positioned to respond to anticipated demand stemming from pending legalization. Mark will also offer his perspective on current delivery channels, such as edibles and creams, and the prospects of these becoming more widely available, as well as predictions for the future.

Zekulin <br />  
Canopy Growth
9:15 AM Plenary Session 2
The Canadian Marijuana Timeline: How Did We Get Here?

This presentation will recount how we have come to the eve of legalization and regulation of cannabis in this country. It will cover the movements to date while acknowledging that we are dealing with a moving target. Positions are subject to change - some, possibly, without notice. The movement to shift away from criminalization stretches back many decades but has really achieved momentum during the last one. There were several reasons for the move away from criminalization:

  • general disenchantment with the War on Drugs,
  • the recognition of a right to access to marijuana for medical purposes
  • changing public opinion about the drug

The election of the Liberal government that ran on legalization as part of its platform signalled that reform would happen. The federal government has repeatedly stated that it wants the legislation to be in force by July 2018. In addition to providing an overview of broad issues as we shift from criminalization to legalization and regulation of cannabis, Bill Bogart will also raise questions for organizations and the people who lead them.

Bogart <br />  
University Professor and Professor of Law
University of Windsor
10:00 AM Networking Break
10:30 AM Plenary Session 3
Tying-Off On Marijuana

Complexity, distortion, missing information, and rapid change are just some of the intimidating challenges for Canadian employers facing marijuana legalization. While safety is critical and cannot be compromised, striking a reasonable balance between the interests of safety, privacy, human rights, and labour law will be difficult. What are the differences between safety systems in dangerous and non-dangerous workplace environments? How can companies effectively manage medical marijuana and speak about marijuana so the risks are well understood? How can the differences between marijuana and alcohol be accounted for in policy, practice, and culture? During this session, Dan will provide a simple, immediately actionable summary of the key issues and resolutions that exist today, offering an anchor to tie-off for employers, as these risks are going to cause a number of Canadian employers to slip-up on marijuana and workplace safety.

Demers <br />  
Senior Manager, Strategic Business Development
11:15 AM Plenary Session 4
Lessons Learned from Colorado

Dubbed "Colorado's Marijuana Czar" when he was that state's first director of marijuana coordination, Andrew Freedman lead the process that saw Colorado become the first jurisdiction in the world to regulate recreational marijuana. In his current role, he works with governments, research institutions, communities and private businesses to get legalization right. Having lived through it, Andrew has a unique perspective on the many issues related to the legalization of marijuana. Andrew will provide an overview of the drivers that influenced why legalization legislation was considered and ultimately passed. He will also discuss lessons-learned from other jurisdictions relating to the consequences for organizations and what they could mean for Canadian workplaces.

Freedman <br />  
Co-Founder and Senior Director
Freedman & Koski, Inc.
12:00 PM Networking Luncheon
1:00 PM Case Study #1
Balancing Safety in the Workplace: Boeing's Experience with Marijuana Legalization

Following the legalization of marijuana in various jurisdictions in the United States, Boeing introduced a corporate program to assist it, and its employees, navigate uncharted territory. This included establishing policies, underlining the importance of safety, educating managers on impairment indicators, and educating employees regarding policies of use. During this presentation, Julie will provide an overview of Boeing's approach to marijuana legalization that addresses these activities, as well as discussing testing and the consequences of a positive test result for employees. Additionally, she will share the U.S. Department of Transportation's perspective on employee marijuana use and Boeing's commitment to adherence.

Daugherty <br />  
Certified Substance Abuse Program Administrator/Senior Manager, Drug Free Workplace
1:45 PM Case Study #2
Marijuana Use in the Workplace and TTC's Journey to Random Drug Testing

In 2015, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) went public about its safety concerns relating to the use of substances in the workplace, and management's perspective of a need for immediate implementation of a random drug and alcohol testing program. During this presentation, Megan will highlight the methodology the TTC used for testing as well as challenges associated with this based on Canada's legal landscape. She will outline successes and lessons-learned related to the design of TTC's testing program and her experience with the initiative. Additionally, Megan will discuss pending marijuana legalization and share her perspective on the potential impacts for the workplace, and what - in her view - is required to ensure safety is not compromised.

MacRae <br />  
Executive Director, Human Resources, People Group
Toronto Transit Commission
2:30 PM Refreshment Break
2:45 PM Plenary Session 5
Canadian Cannabis Craze

To understand the effect of cannabis in the workplace, we must first understand cannabinoids. Cannabis usage can negatively impact cognitive function, memory, and the ability to execute, not only complex, but even routine tasks. Melissa Snider-Adler will provide an overview of cannabis challenges in the workplace (both medicinal and legalization), and describe current options for workplace testing as well as future capabilities of testing devices.

Snider-Adler <br />  
Chief Medical Review Officer
DriverCheck Inc.
3:30 PM Plenary Session 6
What Can Organizations Expect After July 2018?

Bill Howatt's work and research in workplace productivity provides him with a unique perspective to consider the impact that marijuana legalization will have for organizations. His studies of employee coping skills and organizational performance, workplace mental health, employee engagement, and addiction will greatly inform the discussion around what lies ahead for organizations once marijuana legalization comes into effect. Bill will share his thoughts on what legalization will mean for Canadian organizations, and will consider the pace and form that this will impact the world of work. Additionally, Bill will discuss the potential relationship between legal marijuana and dependency, addiction, and mental health.

Howatt <br />  
Chief Research and Development Officer, Workforce Productivity
Morneau Shepell Ltd.
4:15 PM Closing Remarks from the Chair
Campbell <br />  
Director, Organizational Excellence, Learning and Leadership
The Conference Board of Canada
4:30 PM Day 1 Adjourns

Thursday, February 15, 2018

8:00 AM Continental Breakfast
8:30 AM Opening Remarks from the Chair
Campbell <br />  
Director, Organizational Excellence, Learning and Leadership
The Conference Board of Canada
8:45 AM Plenary Session 7
Marijuana at Work: The Impact of Societal Normalization

How well are organizations prepared when a lunchtime beer and burger become a marijuana brownie with ice cream?

Dave Earle will focus on how the normalization of marijuana in the workplace will impact organizations and employees. He will provide a brief history of substance use in Canada and illustrate how today's remarkable parallels will act as wonderful learning opportunities. As the normalization of marijuana consumption is a given, organizations can expect a crossover into the workplace. So, what is an organization to do? Dave will provide answers to this question with real examples, critical success factors, and bold, fearless predictions.

Earle <br />  
Vice-President, Government Relations and HR Services
Construction Labour Relations Association of BC
9:30 AM Plenary Session 8
Supporting Employees: An Evidence-Based Approach for Medical Marijuana

The Arthritis Society is leading the creation of an employer guide to cover the ground-breaking and complex issues related to medical cannabis for a variety of diseases including chronic non-cancer pain, through employer-sponsored benefit plans. The Arthritis Society's employer framework will provide a sustainable and evidence-based approach to offer medical cannabis for bona fide medical conditions including those resulting in chronic pain, where the alternative often requires the use of opioids with associated risks and side-effects.

The ability to offer medical cannabis as an alternative therapy, using evidence-informed and scientifically-validated criteria, enables employers to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism and promote employee well-being by taking a progressive and forward-looking approach. It will provide a clear outline to help cost-manage the introduction of medical cannabis to benefit coverage and help employers avoid the pitfalls.

The Arthritis Society's guide will offer clear support to facilitate the benefit approval process, a host of policy recommendations to ensure that employers are able to introduce and manage the use of medical cannabis responsibly and effectively, and supports and resources available to help employees navigate the emerging treatment plan options.

During this session, Janet Yale will provide an overview of The Arthritis Society's coverage plan and policies and suggestions for organizations grappling with medical marijuana challenges.

Yale <br />  
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Arthritis Society
10:15 AM Refreshment Break
10:30 AM Plenary Session 9
Marijuana in the Workplace: Accommodating Marijuana Use Without Going up in Smoke

Medical marijuana is now recognized as a legitimate form of treatment for some conditions and symptoms. Health Canada estimates that 450,000 Canadians will turn to using marijuana for medical reasons by 2024. In addition, the Federal government has announced plans to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2018. This will have serious implications for the workplace, and employers may encounter various types of marijuana users, from the addict to the self-medicator.

Each different type of user raises different issues regarding accommodation in the workplace. Employers often fear the worst, assuming they must allow almost anything in the name of accommodation. That is not the case. Stuart Rudner will discuss the duty to accommodate medicinal and other uses of marijuana, the limits of the duty to accommodate, and how to respond to requests for accommodation. He will also address discipline and dismissal, as well as the proactive use of policies and procedures to minimize liability while governing the workplace.

Rudner <br />  
Employment Lawyer and Mediator
Rudner Law
11:15 AM Plenary Session 10
The Legalization of Marijuana and Its Implications for the Canadian Workplace

With legislation having been tabled concerning the legalization of marijuana across the country, organizations are taking stock of what this could mean to them. Join Simon-Pierre Paquette, legal counsel at CN, as we walk through the potential implications of legalization, particularly in safety-sensitive workplaces. CN has long been at the forefront of issues involving workplace health and safety, including the importance of proactively addressing the risks inherent to workplace impairment. Simon-Pierre will share his expertise on issues like preventive and reactive steps employers can take to screen for impairment in the workplace, provide insight into policies and procedures that may need to be adapted if marijuana is legalized, and outline what employers can do to ensure they are prepared for these upcoming legislative changes.

Paquette <br />  
Canadian National Railway Company
12:00 PM Closing Remarks from the Chair
Campbell <br />  
Director, Organizational Excellence, Learning and Leadership
The Conference Board of Canada
12:15 PM Conference Adjourns


We’d like to thank our generous sponsors for their contribution to this event.

CannAmm Occupational Testing Services logo

CanopyGrowth Logo

DriverCheck logo

Marketing Partner


Special Contributor


The details of this event are subject to change. Please revisit this page periodically for updated information.