In a December 10, 2012 Workplace Wire Blog, we posted about two high-profile cases that could change Canada’s random drug and alcohol testing laws, CEP, Local 707 v. Suncor in Alberta and CEP, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. in New Brunswick.
The arbitration in the Suncor matter began on January 2, 2013 after being postponed at the request of local union president, Roland LeFort, for unspecified personal matters before the holidays. The hearing is expected to extend over the next few months.
The case dates back to October 2012, when the union was successful in obtaining an injunction from Alberta’s Courts preventing Suncor from rolling out a new random drug and alcohol testing policy for its employees at its oil sands operations in Fort McMurray. In November 2012, Alberta’s Court of Appeal, in a split decision, upheld the injunction in light of the upcoming arbitration.
The employer, Suncor, is arguing that random drug and alcohol testing for all employees is needed, saying that three of the seven deaths at its operations in Alberta since 2000 involved workers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The union, on the other hand, is arguing the policy would violate the privacy and dignity of employees, as well as the terms of their collective agreement.