A conference in Saskatoon is aiming to help employers explore ways to get ready for the emergence of marijuana on the job as the date of legalization draws near.

"Each organization is wise to start thinking about it in broad terms, looking at their existing policies and then looking to adopt those policies. It's not that complicated but it's important to start the conversation, " Kathleen Thompson told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

On Tuesday, the cannabis policy consultant and researcher presented at the Work Better Safer event on the topic of Cannabis and the Workplace.

According to Thompson, there are four different domains employers should focus on when determining potential hazards in the workplace:

  1. Think about people who are using cannabis medicinally.  
  2. Think about people who might be using cannabis recreationally.
  3. Think about jobs that have workplace safety issues.  
  4. Think about jobs that don't have workplace safety issues.

She said, from there, an employer would be able to create a clear and straightforward policy to promote a healthy workplace environment and to accommodate people who need to use cannabis on the job.

But when it comes to recreational use, she added that not every workplace needs to make those accommodations.

"We can frame it contextually like alcohol or painkillers," Thompson explained. "Nobody should ever show up at the workplace intoxicated or impaired, right? So it's the same sort of frame for that."

She said it's also important for employees to have access to cannabis education so they are able to assess, if it's necessary, to initiate a conversation with their employer. 

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning