Bar raised in random drug, alcohol testing

Supreme Court of Canada rules in favour of union, but case is ‘fact-specific’: Lawyer
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/14/2013

The supreme court of Canada may have ruled against an employer in a landmark case involving random alcohol testing, but the practice is far from dead — the rules have just been tweaked a bit, according to experts.

In June, the top court sided with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) over a grievance it filed against random alcohol testing conducted by Irving Pulp & Paper.

In 2006, the company had unilaterally adopted a policy — under the collective agreement’s management rights clause — that imposed testing for employees in safety-sensitive positions at a paper mill in Saint John, N.B., including a random alcohol testing component for 10 per cent of workers.