Moving Towards Recovery-Informed Workplaces, Everyone Has a Role

Room – Stephen Ballroom Part 1 – 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, Part 2 – 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. February 22nd, 2023, Hyatt Regency Centre, Calgary Alberta


Panel 1:  Recovery Informed Workplace Systems

  • JD Porter, Director of Operations, Swoop Airlines
  • Ian Robb, President, Building Trades of Alberta
  • Michael McKenna, Executive Director, BC Construction Safety Alliance
  • Dr. Paul Farnan, IMA Solutions, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Carson McPherson, Simon Fraser University

Panel 2:  Recovery Management at Work

  • John Felicella, Union/EAP Coordinator, International Longshore, and Warehouse Union/ BCMEA Employee Assistance Program
  • Vanessa Beaudoin, Flight Attendant, Air Canada
  • Kim Skeath, Mercer Marsh Benefits Canada Limited
  • Steve Farina, VP for the BC Professional Firefighters Association (BCPFFA)
  • Dr. Paul Farnan, Addiction Physcian
  • Dr. Carson McPherson, SFU

Panel Moderators

Part 1

Part 2

Recovery Capital Conference

Session Description

Traditionally, the workplace has been a setting where employees with substance use and mental health challenges have presented with advanced medical and psychosocial concerns. Employers rely on the conventional medical approach, characterized by late-stage detection of impairment, reactive interventions, difficulty accessing appropriate medical treatment and extended time loss. The siloed model of the Canadian healthcare system is simply not capable of meeting the complex needs of these employees at an early stage.

Recovery is a strengths-oriented model that runs counter to the conventional medical approach. Recovery-orientated approaches focus on enhancing strengths and abilities; ultimately improving the agency and self-efficacy of employees who are struggling with substance use and mental health challenges. Employing recovery principles in the workplace community can be a highly effective means of not only proactively addressing but also preventing substance misuse, by creating a safe and supportive work culture.

The benefits of Recovery Informed Workplaces (RIW) extend beyond assisting individual employees. Creating a recovery-inclusive workplace culture allows people in recovery to contribute to important conversations in the workplace that others need to hear, e.g. on substance use and mental health policies or wellness initiatives.
This session is designed to provide attendees with pragmatic advice in moving a workplace toward a recovery-informed approach. Panel members will, through an interactive session, discuss the pearls and pitfalls of recovery-friendly workplace approaches they have experienced or are considering, and how structuring a collaborative style can assist in a more progressive approach for all stakeholders.

Learning Objective

  • Understand the concept of recovery and how it can positively impact workplace settings.
  • Appreciate common pitfalls and pearls for management and labour when trying to create and support a recovery-informed workplace.
  • Develop a sense of confidence in having difficult conversations with employees and employers about substance use and recovery in the workplace.
  • Consider training and skills for workplace personnel to help support those who may be experiencing substance use challenges or who are in recovery.

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Alberta model

a $600 CACCF Value