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Vlog Series: Jerseys For Humboldt

April 13, 2018 [Ayr, ON] – People all over the world put on their best jerseys April 12/18 in support of the recent Humboldt Broncos tragedy. DriverCheck was no exception. As a small town business, this hits home for us all. All staff wore yellow, green or their favorite jersey to show their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy.

April 13th, 2018 | administrator

Vlog Series: Leo Ezerins – Life After the CFL

April 4, 2018 [Ayr, ON]  – We catch up with Leo Ezerins, Executive Director of the CFL Alumni Association and former Grey Cup champion to discuss life after football and how the CFL Alumni Association supports their members during the big life transition.

April 4th, 2018 | administrator

6 Quick Tips to Healthy Living

February 23, 2018 [Ayr, ON] – Wayne Hartrick, President, of Canadian Men’s Health Foundation provides 6 Quick Tips to Health Living. Even the smallest changes you make, can improve your overall health and well-being.

 

 

February 23rd, 2018 | administrator

Don’t Change Much – Small Changes Make a Difference – Vlog

January 31, 2018 [Ayr, ON] – We recently caught up with Wayne Hartrick, President, of Canadian Men’s Health Foundation to discuss how even the smallest changes you make, can improve your overall health and well-being.

January 31st, 2018 | administrator

Cannabis & Safety Sensitive Occupations Don’t Mix

September 14, 2017 [AYR, ON] – Cannabis (marijuana) use, that has been authorized for medical purposes has soared in Canada over the last number of years. Recently, we have seen a large spike in authorizations, which is likely due to the pending legalization of cannabis and society’s general acceptance of cannabis use as a “cure-all” for a variety of medical conditions. It may seem to employers that ‘everyone’ is now using cannabis and claiming it is for medical purposes.

Although authorized by a physician, cannabis, namely THC, remains a psychoactive substance that has the potential for safety concerns at work, especially with employees working in safety sensitive or safety critical jobs. 

As more research studies are conducted that outline the impact of cannabis on operating a motor vehicle, decision making skills and reflexes, it is apparent that if a worker has an authorization for Cannabis for Medical Purposes, they would require an evaluation to determine whether or not they are fit for duty in a safety sensitive occupation.

Employers should be advised that the comments in this article relate to the non-DOT review of marijuana laboratory confirmed positive tests and are not applicable to programs subject to U.S. DOT Regulations. Any worker subject to DOT Regulations who tests positive for THC or THC metabolite, regardless of whether it’s medical or not, will have their drug result reported to the company as positive and is still medically disqualified from performing safety  sensitive duties defined and governed by U.S. DOT until he/she stops using cannabis, has an evaluation by a Substance Abuse Professional and complies with and completes the Substance Abuse Professional’s requirements, and then tests negative on all required DOT tests. 

The MROs at DriverCheck Inc. have experienced first-hand the increase in authorizations for cannabis for medical purposes, and subsequently, an increase of laboratory confirmed positive drug tests for cannabis. It is the responsibility of the MRO to determine whether the positive drug test for cannabis (THC or THC metabolite) is due to a medical authorization for cannabis for medical purposes or illicit use. There are many dispensaries where physicians can write a letter or referral to authorize their patient to purchase “medical cannabis”. These dispensaries, however, are not legal sources in Canada and products purchased from such dispensaries are NOT considered to be a legitimate medical explanation, despite the fact that physicians are recommending or signing referrals for patients to attend.

The ONLY source of legal cannabis, at the moment, is that which is purchased from a Health Canada Authorized Licensed Producer (LP) or for some patients, grown legally with Health Canada authorization. Physicians must complete a form to authorize their patient to register with and purchase cannabis from an LP. As MROs, we verify that there is an authorization from a physician, that the worker is registered with an LP and that they are actually purchasing the cannabis from said LP. Only once we can verify all of this information are we satisfied that the cannabis was procured legitimately.

Though the worker may have a legitimate medical explanation, it does not alleviate the safety concerns in the workplace, nor does it mean they are fit for safety sensitive duties.

It is important to remember that the role of the MRO is to determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for the positive test and to alert the employer of potential safety risks. During the MRO review, an imminent safety risk may be found to which the MRO will ensure that the employer is aware. However, to determine fitness for duty, an additional hands-on assessment is required.

With respect to Cannabis for Medical Purposes – we wholeheartedly agree that there are numerous concerns with workplace safety, despite a legitimate medical explanation. We make recommendations that the authorizing physician be contacted to make a determination as to whether the employee can safely perform their duties at work. It may then be necessary for the individual to undergo a Fitness for Duty evaluation by a qualified medical practitioner with corresponding expertise to determine if the donor is medically qualified to perform their duties. DriverCheck is now able to work with your company to help facilitate this process.

At DriverCheck, our result letter sent to the employer will ALWAYS include a notation to alert you that there is an employee with authorization to use Cannabis for Medical Purposes and that we have verified this. It will also include a recommendation for an assessment, as previously outlined above, due to the known impact of cannabis on work performance and safety.

In summary DriverCheck’s MRO review process is:

Tests with a laboratory confirmed positive result for THC or THC metabolite for which a valid authorization exists will:

However, with verified negative cannabis tests, you will be alerted to authorized cannabis for medical reasons with a safety warning that is specific to these types of results.

As Canada’s fitness for duty experts, our top priority is the safety of your staff and workplace.

***********************************************************************************************************************************We hope you enjoyed this article. Have comments or questions about this article? Let us know by emailing us at PR@DriverCheck.ca.

About Dr. Melissa Snider-Adler, M.D., C.C.F.P., M.R.O. (AAMRO), D,A.B.A.M.:

Chief Medical Review Officer, DriverCheck Inc.

Dr. Snider-Adler is the Chief Medical Review Officer for DriverCheck. Her background is in Family Medicine, but now works primarily in the field of Addiction Medicine. She has been providing Opioid Agonist Therapy in multiple practice settings throughout Ontario for the last sixteen years. Dr. Snider-Adler is certified as a Medical Review Officer by the American Association of Medical Review Officers. She is also certified as a Physician practicing Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Snider-Adler is an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University Department of Family Medicine. She was one of the authors of the 2011 Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program Standards and Clinical Guidelines and continues to work as a Peer Assessor for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario where she also sits on the Methadone Assessors Committee. Dr. Snider-Adler gives talks across Canada to companies, physicians and the community about workplace substance abuse and addiction prevention and treatment.

September 14th, 2017 | administrator

DriverCheck Announces Sponsorship of Local Race Car Driver

June 30, 2017 [AYR, ON] – DriverCheck is pleased to announce the sponsorship of RJS Motorsports and their driver, Bob Schultheiss in the 2017 Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series.

“Bob has been a long-time supporter of DriverCheck, and has made workplace fitness for duty one of his top priorities for the organizations he has represented,” Connor Page, Business Development Manager at DriverCheck explains.

“Part of the allure of this sponsorship was Bob’s charity work and involvement with MADD”, says Mr. Page. “Given MADD’s stance on impaired driving, it’s a perfect match, as DriverCheck shares their vision.”

Mr. Schultheiss explains, “I love racing. It was our goal to have a car in the 2017 season, so I reached out last year to DriverCheck and presented our vision. Car racing is a safety sensitive role, which is why I wanted to partner with DriverCheck and MADD. I take fitness for duty extremely seriously, and know these two organizations do as well. I know this will create exposure to the audience they work with daily.”

“When Bob came forward with this idea, his passion for racing was contagious, so it was an easy decision to support him and his team,” continues Mr. Page. “DriverCheck provides alcohol and drug testing in a variety of industries – and car racing is extremely safety sensitive. We know how important this is to Bob and his team, which is why we wanted to support him.

From left to right: Maggie Dunnett, Bob Schultheiss and Catherine Wilson

Another notable sponsor of RJS Motorsports and strategic industry partner of DriverCheck is ISB MEE.

MEE stands for Making Eligibility Easy which was designed to help the transportation industry in qualifying drivers and getting them on the road efficiently, safely and cost effectively by providing all the required documents and services through a single website.

“We are ecstatic to be a sponsor of Bob and the RJS Motor Sports race team,” Charlie Charalambous, Director of Client Services says. “This is a cool way to connect with our audience. This is a unique marketing exposure opportunity for MEE, while supporting a valuable association like MADD.”

From left to right ISB Canada: Michael Thompson – CEO, Wendy Patton – Sales Administrator and Charlie Charalambous – Director Client Services ISB MEE

Bob Schultheiss has been involved in racing for over 15 years, starting as crew with his older brothers’ late model team, taking the challenge of cart racing to learn the ropes of racing and then moving into Pro-4 Modified class. Patience, maturity and perseverance will make this inaugural season to look forward to. The team’s goal for 2017 is to make the top 10 in points and have at least two top 5 finishes for the season, keeping pace amongst the veterans in the series.

For more information about Bob Schultheiss and the RJS Motor Sports team, visit:

www.facebook.com/RJSmotorsports1966
www.rjsmotorsports.ca
www.linkedin.com/in/roberts1966

June 30th, 2017 | administrator

TTC to Roll Out Random Drug Testing in 2017

May 8, 2017 [Ayr, ON] – Toronto is one of the busiest cities in the world and it’s not surprising that the city needs an extensive transit system. In recent history, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) ridership has increased year over year and 2015 saw the transportation system provide a record 538 million rides. That’s a lot of people—and a lot of people’s safety to be responsible for.

TTC to Roll Out Random Drug Testing in 2017

The TTC doesn’t shy away from this responsibility, though. Safety is a key component of the way the TTC conducts its operations. Of its seven strategic objectives, safety sits at the top of the list.

“Toronto is one of the busiest cities in the world, and one that relies heavily on the transit system. It is of the utmost importance for the TTC to provide safety not only to the public, but also to all employees,” says Megan MacRae, Director of Employee Relations at TTC.

TTC to Implement Random Drug Testing

Because of a commitment to safety, TTC decided to implement a random alcohol and drug testing as a calculated method to provide safe and reliable transportation to so many millions of people.

While the TTC began its journey in 2011 towards implementing alcohol and drug testing, it has been a long road. Due to a variety of reasons, including ongoing arbitration proceedings, the TTC delayed until it felt it could no longer do so, in the interest of safety.

“It was time to move forward to implement a random alcohol and drug testing program,” says Ms. MacRae.

In 2016, TTC, with the approval of its Board decided to proceed with the initiative and budgeted $1.3 million to put this plan into action. While there is still opposition from the union, the need for oversight and accountability is a key component for maintaining safety on the road and rails.

The Right Choice isn’t Always the Easiest

Despite the pushback, the decision— in the long-term— will undoubtedly be the right one.

In a city like Toronto, there are countless protocols and systems in place that help make the city one of the safest in the world in which to work, live and play. While in an ideal world random alcohol and drug testing would be unnecessary, the real world requires constant vigilance to keep people safe. It’s impossible to reach perfection, but striving for it is the only way to reach excellence.

DriverCheck is proud to be a part of this program and helping TTC achieve their organizational goals of preserving the safety of every rider and worker that step onto each bus, train, or streetcar.

May 8th, 2017 | administrator

National Day of Mourning

April 28, 2017 [AYR, ON] – Today is National Day of Mourning; a day that commemorates workers, who have been killed, injured or suffered illness from workplace accidents, hazards, and incidents on the job.

Let’s take a moment today to think about those who have been injured, lost their lives and their families.

You may know someone who has been injured or lost their life on the job. Workplace tragedies are heartbreaking and have deeply impacted the lives of their family and friends.

Quick Facts (Statistics source: Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC))

Below are a few links to information as well as an impactful video that is worth watching.

www.wsibdayofmourning.ca

www.ccohs.ca/events/mourning 

www.wcb.ab.ca/about-wcb/community-partnerships/day-of-mourning.html 

threadsoflife.ca 

 

April 28th, 2017 | administrator

Legislation to Legalize Cannabis is Announced

April 18, 2017 [AYR, ON] – Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced new legislation to legalize cannabis in Canada, which is expected to formally take place in 2018.

The new law would allow adults 18 and over to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis with the ability to purchase cannabis and cannabis oil from retailers. Age limits will be regulated at the provincial level. Additionally, Canadians will be allowed to grow up to 4 plants per residence for personal use.

On the same day, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced major changes to Canada’s impaired driving laws, which will include mandatory roadside alcohol screening and new tougher criminal offences for driving while under the influence of drugs.

The Canadian government formed a special Task Force to review and create Cannabis Legalization and Regulation which was led by Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief. Part of the task force’s duty was to consider drug impairment while driving.

If law enforcement suspect a driver is high, they can demand that the driver provide an ‘oral fluid sample’. A positive test result (or commonly referred to as a ‘non-negative result’) would lead to further testing, including a blood test to determine if a criminal offence has been committed.

Oral fluid testing was deemed the most appropriate form of drug detection, as it has the ability to identify recent use at specific cut-off levels. New drug-related offences will be created for drivers who have consumed drugs within 2 hours of driving. Testing would analyze the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis. Those found to have 2 nanograms, but less than 5 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood could face a maximum fine of up to $1,000). Drivers who have a blood level of more than 5 nanograms of THC, or is also found to be drinking alcohol in conjunction with marijuana usage could face jail time of up to 10 years.

Crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs is the leading criminal cause of death in Canada.

“It would be fair to assume that crashes involving cannabis will see a sharp increase,” says Dr. Chris Page, founder and owner of DriverCheck Inc. “Simply put, if cannabis is easily accessible and legalized, one would suspect that usage will increase. With this increase in usage, we will see an increase in drug impaired driving, which should be a serious concern for public safety in Canada.”

Although, the government has not specified which drug testing device would be used, it is expected that the DrugWipe point of care device from Securetec will be the instrument of choice, as it was recently used in a pilot program in Canada. The DrugWipe system can detect THC, opiates, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamines (MDMA, ecstasy), benzodiazepines and ketamine. For companies considering the use of oral fluid point of care devices, please note that DriverCheck has not yet endorsed one of these devices due to the challenge in accurately detecting marijuana at low cut-off levels. For companies wanting to perform oral fluid testing, we recommend the gold standard – lab based oral fluid testing – at this time.

Many people have raised concerns about the impact legalized marijuana will have on the safety of our roads but also in the workplace. The number of medical marijuana authorizations have sky rocketed in the last few years and has been a learning template for organizations who have dealt with this challenge and were forced to review or implement new alcohol and drug testing policies, protocols and procedures.

“Just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe to use. Look no further than alcohol and prescription medication. They are legal, but not necessarily accepted in the workplace – specifically, in safety sensitive positions,” says Dr. Page.

Dr. Page continues, “Our first recommendation is to review the types of occupations you have in your company. Is this considered a safety sensitive role? Is that individual putting not only themselves, but co-workers and the general public at risk by using cannabis at work? If the answer is yes, you should seriously review your workplace alcohol and drug policy and testing program. Our stance is that public safety should outweigh human rights.”

Although detection of impairment is considered a challenge (when compared to alcohol blood levels), the implementation of oral fluid testing is a start – as it is the best option we have currently to detect recent use, and therefore, likelihood of impairment. It may not be a perfect formula now, but it’s a starting point – and superior to the other option of doing nothing.

Have questions or comments about cannabis in the workplace? Dr. Melissa Snider-Adler, DriverCheck’s Chief Medical Review Officer is presenting ‘Canadian Cannabis Craze’ on May 17 in Calgary at a meeting hosted by the Private Motor Truck Council. Space is limited, so people are encouraged to register early by contacting Vanessa Cox at info@pmtc.ca. You can also register online at www.pmtc.ca.

We will be providing clients with a recording of a recent webinar on this topic presented by Dr. Snider-Adler in the next edition of our newsletter, and we will be hosting further educational events this fall that we will communicate at a later date.

About DriverCheck Inc.:

Since its inception in 1996, DriverCheck Inc. (DC) has been the leading provider of medical testing and assessments in Canada. Physician-owned and operated, DC has grown to become the largest national provider of workplace medical testing, and was one of the first Third Party Administrators in Canada to offer DOT-regulated alcohol and drug testing. DC’s head office is located in the village of Ayr, the heart of Ontario’s transportation hub. DC currently serves over 6,400 employers, with access to over 1,000 testing facilities strategically located across the country, providing easy access to all medical services. Our diverse service offerings include alcohol and drug testing, fatigue management, occupational health and injury management programs (including remote medical services). DC services a wide array of industries including transportation, oil & gas, mining, forestry and medical.

As Canada’s fitness for duty leader, DC’s top priority is the safety of your staff and workplace.

To learn more about DriverCheck, visit www.DriverCheck.ca or call 1 (800) 463-4310.

April 18th, 2017 | administrator

Sleep Apnea and Fatigue: The Silent Killers

February 22, 2017 [Ayr, ON] –  We seem to be busier than ever these days, but time does not always allow people to keep their own health demands as important priorities. Many people do not get enough sleep to operate at their best, whether that is at work or in their personal lives. In addition, some workers feel pressured (either directly or inadvertently) to work beyond their normal limits in order to get things done.

Exhausted construction worker

However, employee fatigue on the job is not always due to a time crunch. Some workers unknowingly suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for a time while sleeping. This can occur many times during the course of a night, compromising sleep quality, and the reduction in oxygen going to the brain is detrimental to one’s heart and circulation health. Detecting and treating sleep apnea as soon as possible is very important, as many people do not even know they have a problem affecting both their quality of life and performance on the job.

Transportation

Whether you are a pilot, a train conductor, or a truck driver, you are operating a large machine capable of delivering many people or large loads of cargo at once. These vehicles can also be highly dangerous, if the operator is not paying full attention to the instruments, instructions from home base, or to other vehicles operating in the area. Fatigue resulting from sleep apnea compromises the operators’ ability to pay full attention to their responsibilities, with potentially tragic results. Two tragic train accidents in New York State were likely the result of sleep apnea, and local senators called for the enacting of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations regarding sleep apnea testing and fatigue risk management programs.

Mining

As a profession with considerable risk, mining often requires workers to pull long shifts in the 10 to 12 hour range. Miners who are tired on the job underperform in their duties and run the risk of injuring themselves. Depending on their responsibilities, this lack of attention can cause them to make errors that threaten the safety of others as well.

Construction

Construction workers are in a similar situation. Some work with heavy machinery, such as bulldozers, excavators, and cranes. Not operating this large equipment in the prescribed manner can lead to costly errors, injury, and even fatalities.

Worried that your staff may be too tired to do their work safely and efficiently? DriverCheck offers a fatigue management testing program that will check for sleep apnea and start treatment for those affected within days, allowing them to continue on in their roles. Contact us today to learn more about our diagnosis and testing procedures that can help your business attain its safety and productivity goals.

February 22nd, 2017 | administrator