TTC to implement random drug and alcohol testing for its staff starting this month

Apr 3 2017, 7:40 pm

The TTC will begin randomly testing its staff for alcohol and drugs this month.

The announcement by the TTC was made today after Ontario Superior Court Associate Chief Justice, the Honourable Frank Marrocco, denied an application by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 for an injunction against the TTC’s decision to implement random drug and alcohol testing.

The testing is part of the TTC’s fitness for duty policy to improve the safety of its workplace, its customers and all Toronto road users, according to a TTC press release.

“Since 2010, the TTC has had a fitness for duty policy that permits workplace testing for drugs and alcohol under certain conditions, such as reasonable cause and post-incident. In 2011, the TTC board approved adding random drug and alcohol testing to the policy,” states the release. “The TTC did not implement it at the time as it was in arbitration over the entire fitness for duty policy and was hopeful resolution would be speedy, given the seriousness of the matter.”

But resolution through arbitration has taken time, and the TTC felt it could wait no longer. This, considering the increasing number of positive workplace test results and test refusals it has seen, which potentially compromised employee and public safety.

Approximately 10,000 employees in safety sensitive positions are part of the TTC’s random testing program, including designated management positions and all executives, according to the TTC. The transit commission will randomly test 20% of its workforce annually.

“As North America’s third largest transit system, carrying more than 500 million people annually, employing 14,000 people in a region of some 5 million, the TTC has a duty of care to its employees and the public,” states the release.

Random testing for alcohol and drugs is the law in the United States, as well as in Europe and Australia. A TTC’s legal factum was submitted to the courts last month, explaining the rationale for random testing and is based on the absolute need for safety.

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