FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA – A recent DriverCheck survey has found many employers in the Oil Sands are preparing for a decision expected soon in an outstanding arbitration case on random alcohol and drug testing in Alberta.
In a poll of about 400 DriverCheck clients operating in Alberta, approximately 44 percent of respondents identifying themselves as owner companies say they intend to implement a random testing program in the future, with over half of those companies planning to do so within 3 months to a year.
Of the contractor companies that intend to implement random testing, 37 percent say they are working on a site in the Oil Sands that will make this type of testing mandatory in the future, and most of these contractors say they only intend to implement random testing for employees that work at these sites.
The survey also found the top two reasons companies are not interested in random testing is because they believe it is illegal (22 percent) or because their company is unionized (17 percent).
The truth is random testing is not against the law – in fact, it is mandatory for employers in Canada that are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Random testing has also been upheld by the courts in limited (and mainly non-unionized) circumstances.
For many employers, the overwhelming reason to move forward with random testing is the identification of an alcohol and/or drug problem through either anecdotal evidence based on feedback from supervisors, or high positive alcohol and drug testing rates for post-incident and reasonable cause tests.
An employer’s best bet is to try to get employees on side with random testing before moving ahead with it, and if an employee does have a drug or alcohol dependency, your company should fulfill its duty to accommodate by referring the employee to a Substance Abuse Professional and by guiding them through the return to duty process.
About DriverCheck Inc.
DriverCheck Inc. is a national provider of workplace drug and alcohol testing, fatigue management and occupational health services. The physician-owned and operated company serves 6,000 clients across Canada.