We receive this question quite a bit when testing current or new employees, “I was asked to do a drug test by the company I’m applying for. Are they allowed to do that? I’ve never been asked to do this before.”
The short answer is yes. Employers have several duties with regards to ensuring workplace safety, and for many, that extends to drug and alcohol testing. A 2006 survey estimated that approximately 10% of Canadian worksites had drug testing programs in place. Fast forward to 2019, a year into the legalization of cannabis and that number has likely increased significantly.
If a company has a Drug & Alcohol Policy in place, here are some circumstances that can warrant testing:
1. Pre-Employment or Pre-Access
The worker’s job position in considered “safety sensitive”, meaning there is a risk of injury whether personal, to others, or the environment i.e. construction worker, airplane pilot, commercial truck driver etc.
2. Reasonable Suspicion
There is reasonable suspicion the worker is impaired on the work site, meaning observable signs or symptoms i.e. smell of alcohol or drugs, slurred speech, glossy eyes, incoordination etc.
An incident occurred on site as a result of the worker’s actions or lack of action i.e. a heavy equipment operator backed into a company vehicle
The worker has a documented substance abuse disorder which was disclosed to the employer, has undergone rehabilitation and must complete random testing as per the agreement with the employer to return to work
If you are considering adopting this testing for your workplace or would like to gain more knowledge on drug and/or alcohol testing, feel free to reach us at 1-888-944-4473.
Sophie Rochon | Facility Supervisor & Medical Assessor DC – Ottawa