Drug and alcohol policies to protect your firm (Web Sight)

Information from Alberta’s building sector • The problem facing business • Drug testing • Referral, recovery • Human rights considerations • The precedent-setting Imperial Oil case
By Shannon Simson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/12/2004


orkplace substance abuse is an issue employers are often forced to tackle. Having a clearly defined drug and alcohol policy is a good way for the HR department to protect the organization and employees against the effects of these difficult and, in some cases, dangerous addictions.

These sites offer background and guidance into creating fair and effective substance abuse policies which should help employees and protect employers.

Information from Alberta’s building sector


This lengthy document, from the Construction Owners Association of Alberta, contains a great deal of useful information for employers and HR practitioners on the subject of workplace drug and alcohol abuse. Divided into sections, the first summarizes alcohol and drug guidelines. It includes some independent legal opinion, discusses the importance of, and the criteria for, creating an industry-wide model. The second section details the policy itself, including implementation, consequences for failure to comply, procedures and legal information. The latter sections offer lots of followup material and resources for employers and workers on the broader subject of drug and alcohol awareness and treatment. Again, it’s a long document, but well worth the read.

The problem facing business


The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Web site features a section on substance abuse in the workplace. It discusses how substance abuse affects business costs, and gives options for how businesses can address the problem. Lots of really useful information here, including a definition of workplace substance abuse, a chart illustrating the various types of substance abuse and the effects, and a great section outlining elements that should be in a substance abuse policy. Great for employers.

Drug testing


This U.S. site features news updates and information on drug and alcohol testing in all industries. The legal issues and legislative information covered here is all American, but the business, technology and prevention sections contain interesting tidbits that are worth looking at here in Canada.

Referral, recovery


The Canadian Auto Workers site has a relevant section on substance abuse, including the CAW policy letter on substance abuse referrals, recovery programs, related union information and lots of resource links helpful to both employers and employees.

Human rights considerations


The Canadian Human Rights Policy on Drug and Alcohol Testing is an important document for employers and HR managers creating drug and alcohol policies. It outlines which types of drug and alcohol testing are acceptable under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and which are not, and provides practical guidance on compliance, especially where employees occupy safety-sensitive positions. A legal framework including key cases is provided, along with references to applicable sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act itself.

The precedent-setting Imperial Oil case


Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP offers this summary of the pivotal Entrop vs. Imperial Oil Limited case, where Martin Entrop complained of discrimination when he was removed from a safety-sensitive position upon reporting that he had been dependent on alcohol years prior. The summary lists the six grounds of Imperial Oil’s appeal and the court’s findings for each.

Shannon Simson is Canadian HR Reporter’s resource editor. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section. To share an interesting HR Web site, contact shannon.simson@thomson.com.

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