Fit for Duty: Alcohol and Drug Testing in Canadian Workplaces

The Conference Board of Canada, 30 pages, September 25, 2019
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This report examines workplace practices in alcohol and drug testing—specifically as they relate to cannabis. It also discusses common testing protocols, types of testing, and practices around positive tests and test refusal.

Document Highlights

Over half a million cannabis users acknowledge they have consumed cannabis before or during work—an unsettling finding for those organizations operating in safety-sensitive environments. Because there is no clear connection between consumption and level of impairment, cannabis is a challenging substance to test for, and there is currently no legislation regulating testing for it in Canada. Yet organizations know they must implement testing policies to maintain safety in the workplace.

The Conference Board collected survey data from Canadian employers shortly after recreational cannabis legalization. This report summarizes organizational practices related to alcohol and drug testing. It encourages organizations to make alcohol and drug testing part of a broader health and wellness program that provides access to appropriate resources and tools to help employees in need and offers considerations for navigating the complexities of testing for cannabis.

Table of Contents

  • Key Findings
  • Introduction
  • Why test?
  • Top safety-sensitive employee groups
  • Testing administration and costs
  • Reasons for alcohol and drug testing
  • A new approach to testing for impairment
  • An experts perspective on alcohol and drug testing
  • How to approach a postive test
  • Test refusals
  • Next steps
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B
  • Appendix C

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No charge, funded by The Conference Board of Canada and/or the research sponsor