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BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down

gnu 14 Jun 13 - 04:05 PM
GUEST 14 Jun 13 - 04:34 PM
Ed T 14 Jun 13 - 05:32 PM
Ed T 14 Jun 13 - 05:35 PM
gnu 14 Jun 13 - 06:50 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jun 13 - 07:00 PM
gnu 14 Jun 13 - 07:05 PM
GUEST 15 Jun 13 - 11:40 AM
Doug Chadwick 15 Jun 13 - 02:38 PM
gnu 15 Jun 13 - 06:35 PM
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Subject: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: gnu
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 04:05 PM

BRAVO!


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 04:34 PM

Whew!


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: Ed T
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 05:32 PM

Some of the "first-entry" companies Irving owns have been doing compulsary "pee tests" for new employees for awhile. These folks are not protected by such unions. The daughter of a friend of mine had to line up for one before getting a low level and short term job a few years ago. I don't know of any other firm that does this on the Canadian east coast?


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: Ed T
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 05:35 PM

Before anyone "pees" on me, it should read compulsory:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: gnu
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 06:50 PM

Hmmmm... a long time ago, in Café far away, I read that cut-paste of articles/whatever was not to be done. Now, it appears the opposite it true so...

The Supreme Court of Canada has overturned a company's right to impose mandatory, random alcohol testing on its unionized workers in a dangerous workplace.

In a 6-3 decision released on Friday, the court ruled the policy unilaterally adopted by Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. in Saint John in 2006 for employees in safety sensitive positions is unreasonable.
The Supreme Court of Canada says random alcohol testing by an employer is only justified in certain circumstances. (Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
A dangerous workplace is not automatic justification for random testing, the court ruled in the case, which dealt narrowly with unionized workers and management's ability to balance privacy rights with the need for safety in dangerous workplaces.

The decision says dangerousness of a workplace only justifies testing particular employees in certain circumstances:
Where there are reasonable grounds to believe an employee was impaired while on duty.
Where an employee was directly involved in a workplace accident or significant incident.
Where the employee returns to work after treatment for substance abuse.

"It has never, to my knowledge, been held to justify random testing, even in the case of 'highly safety sensitive' or 'inherently dangerous' workplaces like railways (Canadian National) and chemical plants (DuPont Canada Inc. and C.E.P., Loc. 28-0 (Re)(2002), 105 L.A.C. (4th) 399), or even in workplaces that pose a risk of explosion (ADM Agri-Industries), in the absence of a demonstrated problem with alcohol use in that workplace."

'In this case, the expected safety gains to the employer were found by the board to range from uncertain to minimal, while the impact on employee privacy was severe.'—Supreme Court of Canada

The case stems from a 2006 grievance filed by Local 30 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), at the Irving mill.

"We respect the decision," Irving spokeswoman Mary Keith said in a brief emailed statement.

"We will be reviewing the decision and have no further comment at this time," she said.

"Our focus has and continues to be the safety of our co-workers and communities where we have operations."

Could affect Alberta Suncor case

David Coles, the national president of CEP, said the ruling is "very clear" and believes it will help resolve a similar dispute in Alberta.

Suncor Energy is trying to bring in a random drug and alcohol testing program for employees and contractors at its oilsands operations in Fort McMurray.

"As clear as it is written… if someone was to have random drug testing, they would have a fairly high bar to cross before they would be able to, I believe, get it past the judiciary because there just isn't any evidence at all that it affects the outcome at work," said Coles.

"The fundamental issue here is there's absolutely no evidence presented here or anywhere else that random drug testing increases the safety in any operation," he said.

"So it turns out to be nothing more than an invasion of ones' privacy with no net gain for the consequence of safety."

Coles said the union is opposed to anyone using any kind of alcohol or drug at work, but contends substance abuse is a societal issue that must be dealt with, not a workplace issue to be legislated.

"Stop spending so much money trying to beat on blue collar workers and get to the problem," he said. "You don't see random drug testing in downtown Toronto in the big white towers… And please don't tell me that the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse is any different in Fort McMurray than it is on Bay Street."

The Alberta Federation of Labour, which was an intervener in the Irving case, also believes the decision could influence the Suncor arbitration, said president Gil McGowan.

"Employers simply have to demonstrate there's a problem with drug abuse or alcohol abuse in the workplace before they can move ahead with these kind of arbitrary random drug testing regimes, but it's clear the employer didn't prove that and we would argue that they haven't been able to prove that in Suncor either. So we're very pleased with the decision."

The court found the Irving policy had been properly rejected by a labour arbitration board.

"In this case, the expected safety gains to the employer were found by the board to range from uncertain to minimal, while the impact on employee privacy was severe," the decision states.

Irving "exceeded the scope of its management rights under a collective agreement by imposing random alcohol testing in the absence of evidence of a workplace problem with alcohol use."

The court awarded "costs throughout" to CEP.

Daniel Leger, a lawyer representing the union, declined to discuss the amount involved, citing attorney-client privilege.

But he said the judgment...


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 07:00 PM

So it turns on the collective agreement?

Shame it is not an absolute bar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: gnu
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 07:05 PM

The way I look at it is this. Random is unacceptable. If a manager observes or even suspects inferior performance, I got no problem with him investigating such as to IF it is and WHY it is, and that INCLUDES a breathalizer. Hell...if a guy has a drinkin problem, test him EVERY DAY! Otherwise, sod off.

I gotta wonder if some pencil pushin brown nosin accoutant type came up with this one to take the ratio of managers to employees down from 1/100 to 1/99.9 to save one of the richest families in the world a nickel and get a Christmas bonus of keepin his pension... maybe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 11:40 AM

The Canadian government is about to enact a law that requires blood samples monthly. If you are found with cannabis, alcohol or nicotine in your system your old age pension is cut off along with your access to health care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 02:38 PM

I retired last year after 30 years working in an oil refinery where I was subject to random drug and alcohol tests. I had no objections at all. As far as I am concerned, the right to privacy was completely outweighed by my right not to have my life and livelihood put at risk by others acting irresponsibly.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Random drug tests in Canada struck down
From: gnu
Date: 15 Jun 13 - 06:35 PM

Doug... fair enough and certainly food for thought and discussion. Guest 11:40 AM. Prove it or * off.


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