Mandatory drug tests for B.C. construction workers

Unions, contractors ratify substance abuse testing and treatment policy

Construction unions and contractors in British Columbia have ratified a policy that will see mandatory drug testing for the province's unionized construction workers who are involved in workplace accidents or suspected of impairment.

The Construction Labour Relations Association and the Bargaining Council of British Columbia Building Trades Unions call the substance abuse testing and treatment policy the first industry-wide agreement on substance abuse in Canada.

The policy calls for mandatory drug and alcohol testing for employees involved in workplace accidents or near misses, or when there's reasonable suspicion of on-the job impairment.

Employees who test positive will be suspended from work until a doctor who specializes in addiction clears them to return. The employees will have to undergo follow-up tests for two years.

The policy also allows for voluntary pre-employment drug screening.

The policy covers tests for alcohol and nine common drugs, including marijuana, but all parties involved insist the intent is only to measure on-the-job impairment, not after-hours activities.

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