Testy over drug and alcohol testing

Toronto Transit Commission’s implementation of random testing brings controversial issue back in the spotlight
By David Whitten
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/30/2011

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) decided recently that it would randomly test employees for drug and alcohol use in the wake of a fatal bus accident in which the driver involved had drugs in his possession. Predictably, the decision was met with swift and severe criticism from the city’s transit union.

The controversial media debate that followed holds some valuable lessons for astute human resources professionals who want the safety benefits of testing without employee backlash or expensive legal challenges.

The first things to consider when formulating an alcohol and drug test policy are that the law does not take kindly to treating employees in an invasive or discriminatory fashion and that random testing for alcohol use is more legally defensible than drug tests.