PSAC 2018 Spring Workshop Session Details & Speakers

9:00am – 11:50am


Bill 30: What Employers Need to Know about the changes to Alberta’s Health & Safety System

Description: On November 27, 2017, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 30 – An Act to protect the health and well-being of Albertan workers. Bill 30 has completely rewritten Alberta’s OH&S legislation, and most of the changes will come into effect on June 1, 2018. The new OH&S Act contains provisions on harassment and violence, and requires that many Alberta worksites have a joint work site health and safety committee or a health and safety representative. Supervisors and service providers have been added to the list of “named parties” in the Act and now have their own obligations to ensure the health and safety of workers. More emphasis has been placed on employers, supervisors, and service providers, to ensure that workers are competent to perform their tasks and that supervisors are competent to supervise every worker under their supervision.

Ross Nairne, Alberta Labour, will be discussing and highlighting the more significant changes to the legislation and providing an update on several of the Guidelines that Alberta Labour has developed to help employers better understand and meet their obligations under the new Act. There will also be a Q&A time at the conclusion of Ross’s presentation.

Speaker’s Bios: Ross Nairne is the Executive Director, Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Programs, Alberta Labour.


1:00pm – 4:00pm

Legalization of Cannabis: Oil & Gas Workplace Implications

Description: Canada is on the verge of legalizing marijuana (cannabis) for recreational purposes. Cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit substance and the most frequently encountered positive test in workplace drug testing programs. The mind-altering compound in cannabis i.e. tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the most occupationally relevant compound in the class of more than 100 cannabinoids, and in chronic heavy consumers of cannabis metabolites can remain in the user’s system for several weeks after last consumption.

With legalization, there is an expectation for increased consumption, including by employees. This may have a foreseeable impact on occupational health and safety, especially in safety-sensitive and decision-critical settings. In this session, medical and legal experts will address the following topics:

• The characteristics of marijuana / cannabinoids, including composition, uses and effects;
• The focus on risk identification and management;
• Testing for and identifying use of cannabis, including the legality of testing options;
• Workplace and alcohol and drug policy implications for legalized recreational cannabis;
• What can employers do to ensure their policies are fully up to date, enforceable, and pitfalls to avoid?
• What is the employer’s duty to accommodate cannabis use and any related disability or treatment?
• Potential effects of cannabis use in the workplace and upcoming Occupational Health and Safety Act changes.

Speakers’ Bios:

Brian Davison, Q.C., Partner at DLA Piper Canada, maintains a significant litigation practice and is particularly experienced in areas of employment, receivership, bankruptcy and commercial litigation. Brian has 40 years of involvement with the service sector of the petroleum industry and is counsel for both the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors and the Petroleum Services Association of Canada.

Neil Tidsbury is President of Construction Labour Relations – An Alberta Association (CLR), a position he has filled since 1985. He has worked for the Association since 1979. He has participated in the development and each of the reviews and updates of the Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace, and has either served on the tribunals or testified in respect to most of the construction related proceedings respecting the operation of alcohol and drug policies in Alberta. He is currently a founding Director of Helmets to Hardhats Canada, and a contributor to several of the Construction Owners’ Association of Alberta Construction Best Practices initiatives. His education credentials include Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (1973) and Master of Business Administration (1982) degrees, both from the University of Alberta. Neil is based in the Calgary office of CLR.

Chris Dormer is an associate in the Litigation, Arbitration and Investigations Group in Calgary. Chris carries on a litigation practice with an emphasis on employment and labour law matters. Chris advises clients on a wide range of workplace issues, including regulatory compliance, employee discipline, terminations, workplace investigations, human rights, and accommodations.

Chris has experience as counsel in various employment and labour law matters before all levels of the Alberta Courts, the Employment Standards Commission, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Alberta Labour Relations Board, and the Canada Industrial Relations Board. Chris has also acted as a nominee on a labour Arbitration Panel.

Dr. Charl Els is a psychiatrist, addiction specialist, and a Medical Review Officer. He completed two fellowships at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and he holds a specialized graduate diploma in Insurance Medicine and medico-legal expertise from University of Montreal. Dr. Els co-chairs the Occupational and Environmental Medical Association of Canada’s Guideline Committee. Dr. Els also serves on the University of Alberta’s Health Research Ethics Board and he is a Clinical Professor at the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Els is the author/ co-author of several publications, including in the Lancet and the Cochrane collaboration. He is the first Editor on a Health Canada funded textbook on tobacco control, currently in second edition. Dr. Els regularly conducts assessments on employees in a safety sensitive and decision-critical positions.