The end of the Beginning: A comprehensive look at drug and alcohol policy implementation regarding cannabis in safety sensitive environments

April 17, 2019 7:30 AM to 9:00 AMRoyal Mayfair Golf and Country Club, Edmonton, Alberta
Area of Interest: Benefits, Networking Format: In Person

In this session, Dr. Farrell Cahill, Lead Researcher for the Medisys Health Group, will discuss the direct impact of cannabis usage among workers in high-risk safety sensitive environments. Along with detailing the physiological effects of cannabis on human health and workplace performance Dr. Cahill will discuss the proper development and implementation of enforceable drug and alcohol policies in the workplace. Since the legalization of cannabis Dr. Cahill, working directly with employers, has discovered a significant disconnect between drug and alcohol policy mandates and employer operations within safety sensitive work environments. If these issues continue to go unchecked a significant number of employers will be putting themselves at an unnecessary level of risk.

Have an industry-related question you'd like to ask? Email it to and Dr. Cahill will answer it at this session!

Fees and Registration
Membership Types Regular Price
Regular membership $47.62 CDN
Plan Sponsor Individual Membership $47.62 CDN
Associate $47.62 CDN
Student $33.34 CDN
Non Member $80.95 CDN
CE Credits will be requested if the executive council deems it meets the criteria.

More about this session

To date, there are few processes in place to deal with job site safety regarding cannabis. However, with the legalization of cannabis now behind us employers operating in safety sensitive or high-risk industries must not only have updated or created a drug and alcohol policy, but they must ensure it is enforceable. Additionally, an employer’s management must obtain the necessary education for drug and alcohol policy implementation while also being able to show proper due diligence regarding the understanding of its mandates amongst its employees. This is especially true for occupations within safety sensitive environments.

To maintain a safe worksite the employer must recognize how cannabis can impair an individuals’ performance during critical tasks. Although THC can be easily detected in the blood, there is no reliable measure for impairment from cannabis use and the majority of recreational cannabis issues that face employers have not yet been litigated. Without proper preparation and revisions to applicable policies and procedures, the level of vulnerability for both employers and employees will remain dangerously high.

About the speaker

Dr. Farrell Cahill, PhD is a recognized leader in the field of obesity, diabetes and exercise physiology in Canada. Through his expertise in human physiology, Dr. Cahill explores the etiology and management of acute and chronic health conditions to improve occupational and non-occupational performance. Along with 18 years of research experience, he has published 26 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and over 50 abstracts at national and/or international conferences. Specifically, Dr. Cahill has been researching and speaking at conferences (and on panels) regarding the effects of cannabis on work performance in safety sensitive environments for the past 4 years.

Additionally, regarding occupational health and safety Dr. Cahill and his colleagues also focus their research on the development of defendable Physical Employment Standards (PES) and Bona Fide Occupational Requirements (BFORs). Dr. Cahill is the first to develop a BFOR for the offshore oil and gas industry. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Kinesiology with a PhD in Medicine and is currently the Head of Research for the Medisys Health Group.