Pubdate: Fri, 10 Nov 2017
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Sarnia Observer
Author: Paul Morden
Page: A5


A workshop to help employers get ready for coming changes in Canada's
marijuana laws is being offered Nov. 21 in Sarnia.

The half-day Cannabis and the Workplace session, set to begin at 7:30
a.m. at the Lambton College Residence and Event Centre, is being
organized by the Sarnia Lambton Workplace Wellness steering committee.

The cost is $49 per person, and participants must register in advance
online at cannabis workplace.

"We've heard from employers that they're concerned about the coming
legalization of cannabis," said committee chairperson Martina Jackson,
a health promoter for Lambton public health.

"We want to support them and give them a head start on planning and
policy development."

Canada's federal government is proposing to legalize recreational use
of marijuana by July.

Scheduled to speak at the workshop are Tony George, professor of
psychiatry at the University of Toronto and head of the Addictions
Division at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, as well as
Susan Houston, a Sarnia-based employment lawyer.

"Many workplaces have policies in place already around alcohol and
other drugs, but this just changes things a bit," Jackson said.

"People have questions about whether they need to develop a new
policy, can they change the policy they have."

The workshop will offer information about substance use disorders and
workplace implications, as well as an overview of potential legal issues.

Jackson said coming changes also raises questions about what the
options are for supporting employees.

"Part of our mission, through this committee, is to create wellness in
the workplace," Jackson said.

She said impairment can be a serious health and safety issue, as well
as negatively impacting productivity.

"The time and resources needed to manage employees can be significant
so planning and creating policy to properly manage the presence of
cannabis use in the workplace is crucial," Jackson said.

Initial response to the workshop has been positive, she

There's room for 200 people to attend.

Following registration and a continental breakfast set to begin at
7:30 a.m., the workshop presentations start at 8 a.m.

The committee includes representatives from Lambton public health, the
Canadian Mental Health Association, the Industrial Educational
Co-operative, the Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board, Lambton
County Developmental Services, Belfor Environmental, the Rapids Family
Health Team, Bluewater Health, the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development
Corporation and St. Joseph's Hospice.

It meets every other month with the goal of educating and empowering
employers and employees on issues impact the workplace.

It also works to offer practical solutions to make Sarnia-Lambton
workplaces safer and more productive, while improving the overall
health of the local workforce.

Jackson said the committee typically hosts two workshops a year.
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MAP posted-by: Matt