Helicopter Operator’s Random Drug Testing Plan Shot Down

Article by Toronto Sun

Helicopter operator's random drug testing plan shot down Sun Media This file photo taken on August 5, 2010 shows a Sikorsky S92 helicopter flown by Cougar Helicopters taking off from the St. John's Airport in St John's. (Postmedia Network file photo)

Just because marijuana is legal doesn’t mean companies can subject employees to random drug testing, says a recent ruling by a federal labour arbitrator.

An order —  issued under the Canada Labour Code — struck down a St. John’s helicopter operator’s policy to randomly test pilots and other staff for cannabis, Blacklock’s Reporter reported.

In her ruling, Newfoundland and Labrador arbitrator Susan Ashley determined that drug testing was invasive.

“It still amounts to a removal of intimate bodily information without the consent of the employee,” Ashley ruled. “On balance, I find this is an unjustified affront to the dignity and privacy rights of the affected employees, and that protection of these privacy rights in all of the circumstances outweighs the employer’s legitimate interest in promoting safety.”

The helicopter operator, Cougar Helicopters Inc., which transports workers to and from offshore oil rigs, wanted to perform random drug tests on employees last March, but the union representing the company’s workers objected to the plan.

The ruling is reportedly the first of its kind since the Cannabis Act was passed in June 2018.

Read the full article here.

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