Drug testing vs human rights

Canada’s federal Human Rights Commission ruled in July that random drug and alcohol testing of workers is an abuse of human rights.
The Commission ruled that while employers can’t test for drug or alcohol use that occurs in a worker’s private time, employers may conduct “impairment testing” in safety-sensitive jobs. However, employers are also obligated to “accommodate the needs” of workers who fail the test, including medical help, counselling and reassignment to a job that doesn’t affect safety.

The decision covers workers in federally regulated industries, including banks, airlines, railways, national media outlets and others. It also acts as a guide for private companies.

In 1998, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that a Toronto-Dominion Bank policy of screening new employees with a drug-test was discriminatory.

Meanwhile, the Ontario provincial government is implementing a plan to drug-test all welfare recipients. Those who test positive will face mandatory treatment or be cut off welfare.

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