Drug Testing In The Workplace

Many employers jump to the conclusion that drug testing is the solution. While this is common place in the United States, very few employers in Canada can rely on this method. In Canada, individual privacy is paramount, and drug testing reveals more than just the fact that they have ingested cannabis. Additionally, cannabis testing is in its infancy and does not paint the full picture of what was ingested, how, when and the duration of impairment.

Drug testing in Canada is normally only permitted if the employee is working in a safety sensitive position after a workplace accident has occurred. It’s also sometimes permitted when an employee is returning from a rehabilitation program for substance dependence and their position is safety sensitive. Recent Canadian legal cases have supported the limitations that employers have regarding drug testing.

The Case Against Drug Testing

Companies with many workers involved in safety sensitive positions have been pushing for drug testing in the workplace. In the following cases, issues such as discrimination, privacy, and lack of evidence have interfered with the company’s ability to drug test at random.

Suncor: canadaemploymenthumanrightslaw.com/2018/05/update-random-drug-testing-workplace/

Imperial Oil: cdn-hr-reporter.ca/hr_topics/occupational-health-and-safety/ruling-drug-testing-policy-discriminatory-upheld

Teck Resources Ltd.: cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/teck-resources-mines-random-drug-testing-1.4505974

Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd.: workplacewire.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Irving-Pulp-Paper-Ltd-The-Supreme-Courtrules-on-workplace-drug-and-alcohol-testing1.pdf

Did You Know?

The federal government has earmarked $81 million for a new roadside drug test called the Drager DrugTest 5000. Questions are now arising about the validity of this drug test and its performance ability in the cold. Legal experts are also anticipating some challenges to the law since there is no medically accepted definition of marijuana-impairment.

Want to learn more?

The distinction between medical and recreational marijuana use is an important one for managers to appreciate. The rules that govern employees’ use of recreational versus medically prescribed marijuana are significantly different. Make sure you understand the whole picture.

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