Article by Ben Spurr, The Toronto Star
The impending legalization of marijuana is heightening scrutiny of the TTC’s random drug testing policy, with critics warning that transit workers could be unfairly penalized for ingesting a soon-to-be legal substance outside of work.
The TTC has been randomly testing employees for on-duty drug and alcohol use since May 2017, after a judge agreed with the agency that the testing was a matter of public safety and rejected a request for an injunction filed by the transit workers union. The unioncontinues to fight the policy through ongoing labour arbitration.A year into the random testing regime, cannabis is by far the most common substance that triggered a positive test. As of April, there had been roughly 3,000 employees tested and 47 failed tests. Of those, 27 were positive for marijuana..A majority of workers who fail drug or alcohol tests are either dismissed or resign to avoid dismissal, according to the TTC..Marijuana becomes legal across Canada on Oct. 17 and, while there is no consensus on whether ending the prohibition will lead to more Canadians using the drug, it raises the possibility that the number of transit workers consuming cannabis could increase, as could the number of positive tests..TTC chief executive officer Rick Leary says the agency is “prepared for the legalization of marijuana,” writing in a July report to the agency’s board that its drug testing policy has made the organization a “leader on this issue.”