TTC approves plan to implement random drug, alcohol tests for workers

Toronto transit management says changes needed for public safety, union disagrees

Management behind Toronto’s transit workers has approved a plan to implement random alcohol and drug testing for employees.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) met today to discuss updating its current “Fitness for Duty” policy to include random breathalyzer and “oral fluid” tests for managers, executives and general staff who could affect public safety.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents TTC workers, has yet to respond to the proposed changes but said they will speak following today’s meeting. The union is, however, grieving the policy. The union argues that the this will violate the current collective agreement, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In 2008, a similar recommendation was made but was rejected by the Commission.

The recommendation is being made on the heels of the death of a Toronto woman in a bus accident in August 2011. The bus driver involved in the incident has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and possession of marijuana.

Some TTC workers are currently subject to testing, including new hires and employees suspected of using drugs or alcohol at work. The TTC also has the right to screen workers who may have had a history of substance abuse or have been treated for drug or alcohol abuse.

Windsor is the only public transit system in Canada that has a policy in place requiring random employee testing for drug and alcohol use due to its drivers crossing the border.

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