Medical Monitoring and Returning to Work within the Continuum of Care

Janice Johnson

Date: September 7 th 11 am to 3 pm Theatre Room

Often overlooked are the Occupational Health ramifications and potential liability resulting from substance misuse by employees in safety-sensitive positions in the workplace. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the general population struggles with substance misuse and they are as likely to be employed members of society in professions such as first responders, healthcare, resources sector, transportation, and trades, as they are to be the stereotype of unemployed and homeless.

For employers and insurers of safety-sensitive employees, this can result in an increased risk of liability and is why more employers are implementing drug and alcohol policies as part of their overall commitment to workplace safety and wellness. Success in recovery is ideally defined as “abstinence”. For individuals in safety-sensitive work, however, complete abstinence from mind-altering substances is imperative (including from Medication Assisted Treatment such as Suboxone and Methadone).

After completing primary treatment, individuals may be ready to return to work. Medical Monitoring as the next step on the continuum of care for recovery serves a dual purpose; it requires the employee or claimant to assume responsibility and accountability for their ongoing recovery while also providing objective third-party assurance that risk and liability in the workplace are significantly reduced or mitigated.

Medical Monitoring is much more than simply a drug testing program. In this workshop, we will explore the various components of a comprehensive medical monitoring program as a key element for returning recovering employees to safety-sensitive positions. Attendees will leave with enough information to assess the efficacy of a monitoring program as it may relate to their own organization including an understanding of the risks associated with failing to address the wellness of employees and the potential liability of substance use in a safety-sensitive workplace.

Learning Objectives:

Medical Monitoring and Returning to Work within the Continuum of Care

1. Medical Monitoring for addiction affected individuals in recovery; what is it?
2. Where does Monitoring fit on the Continuum of Care?
3. Why Monitor your staff in Recovery; benefits to the employer, benefits to the employee
4. What does effective Monitoring look like; who does what, who knows what?
5. Resistance to Monitoring;
6. Returning to work; a supportive workplace, reducing stigmas


Janice Johnson, CCAC, MPCC
Janice Johnson is the Managing Director of Alliance Medical Monitoring Inc., as well as a Director of Sage Counselling and Addiction Services Inc. She has been in a leadership role in the treatment and aftercare of individuals in recovery from addiction for 15 years. She believes that the monitoring of individuals in recovery as a condition of their return to safety-sensitive or safety-critical work increases personal accountability and provides measurable benefit toward successful long-term abstinence.

As a Canadian Certified Addiction Counsellor and a Registered Professional Counsellor, Janice believes in lifelong learning, growth and development, and in applying an interdisciplinary approach to providing a continuum of care for addiction affected individuals.

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