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Q 01. Isn’t drug testing against my rights?

The Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Human Rights Commissions have published position papers on drug and alcohol testing. Basically, testing is only allowed in safety sensitive positions where safety is a bona fide occupational requirement. There is also a duty to accommodate individuals who are determined to have an addiction, and therefore a disability.  There are various court cases that set the guideline for establishing bona fide occupational requirements and duties to accommodate.

Q 02. I’m concerned about privacy. Who gets my results and who are the results shared with?

Absolutely!  Privacy and confidentiality must be respected. Test results are sent from the Medical Review Officer to a Designated Employer Representative over a secure Drug and Alcohol Test Management System. Test results will be kept separate from personnel files with results shared with Employer decision makers as required. Test results cannot be released to anyone outside of the Employer.

Q 03. I have a medical condition that requires the regular use of a prescription drug. The prescribed drug does not interfere with my ability to work in my safety sensitive position however I am concerned that the drug will show up in my test.

All test results are reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) who will contact the donor of all positive tests. The MRO will investigate the use of the prescription drugs and if the use is medically acceptable, the MRO will report the test results as negative to the Designated Employer Representative. The MRO will not disclose the contents of his/her conversation with the donor.

Q 04. How reliable are drug test results?

A confirmed positive result offers virtually 100% assurance that the specific drug is actually present in the specimen.

Q 05. Is specimen adulteration effective?

Specimen adulteration is a mixture of myth and reality. Most products such as vitamins, herbal preparations and cleaning agents are not effective. Adulteration products have been developed that interfere with the laboratory’s screening and/or confirmation procedures. However, laboratories have procedures in place to detect the use of interfering substances. We consider adulteration a more serious offence than a positive result.

Q 06: Do I have to report a non-prescription medication I take - like cold, flu, allergy or headache medication?

Any medication, prescription or non-prescription, which may affect an Employee’s ability to perform their job safely, must be reported. Other medications, which do not affect the Employees ability to perform their job safely, need not be reported. Any medications or medical information reported will be treated as confidential.

Q 07: What determines whether an incident is significant to warrant testing?

All incidents may provide cause for testing. If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the use of alcohol or drugs was not a factor in the occurrence, the requirement for testing may be waived.

Q 08: Marijuana is legal, so why are we testing for it?

Marijuana is one of the five drugs that are part of the drug testing standard. Marijuana causes impairment which is a hazard on a worksite. Alcohol is legal and we test for it as per the standard.

* We comply with U.S. DOT regulations and company-specific policies across the globe to ensure testing is completed as per their requirement.

Q 09: Is it possible for people to test positive for cannabinoids if they have only passively inhaled marijuana smoke from nearby smokers?

This is not considered a realistic possibility at the cutoff concentration used by the laboratory.

* We comply with U.S. DOT regulations and company-specific policies across the globe to ensure testing is completed as per their requirement.

Q 10: What I do at home is my own business. I like to smoke pot at home, I don’t do it at work, but I’m concerned that I will fail the drug test.

We agree that what you do at home is your own business. The Employer has the right to expect that when you come to work you are fit for duty and that includes not having drugs or alcohol in your body above the standard. You have to make your own choices about what you do and how it may affect you and your responsibility to your Employer.

* We comply with U.S. DOT regulations and company-specific policies across the globe to ensure testing is completed as per their requirement.

Q 11: I know that alcohol testing can measure impairment and drug testing can’t so why do we drug test?

Alcohol tests confirmed by an Evidential Breath Alcohol Testing Device measures levels, not impairment. Drug testing cannot measure levels of impairment. In fact drug tests can only tell you limited information i.e. specific drug level has been verified above the established cutoff levels. A positive alcohol or drug test cannot tell us if an individual has a dependency issue, therefore we depend on the evaluation of a Substance Abuse Expert to provide us direction in assisting our Employee.

Q 12: What if someone I know at work has an alcohol or drug problem?

Every individual at the workplace has a personal responsibility to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Part of that responsibility would be to encourage and help that individual seek assistance through the Employee assistance services or a supervisor. If that individual is putting themselves or others in danger, you have the responsibility to report that individual to your supervisor.

Q 13: How long after use are drugs detectable in urine?

The following table reflects the varying rates at which drugs in the bloodstream are metabolized (broken down) and excreted from the body. Retention time differ among individuals according to many factors, including: the amount consumed, the method of drug use, whether use is chronic or occasional, individual rates of metabolism and excretion, diet, the acidity of the urine and the concentration of the urine at the time the specimen is collected. Because of these variables, retention times are used as general guidelines only.

We can provide other answers to regulations or specific questions and documentation support, just contact us!


NorthStream Safety & Rehab works with all types of industries
  • Mining
  • Hydro & Utilities
  • Natural Resources
  • Athletics
  • Commercial
  • Trucking & Shipping
  • Manufacturing
  • Health Care
  • Construction
  • Forestry
  • Lumber Mills
  • Government Agencies
  • Travel
  • Aviation
  • US DOT
  • Events

We can provide other answers to regulations or specific questions and documentation support, just contact us!


At NorthStream Safety & Rehab, we know that in order to build a safer world for workers and their families, we need to help build safer workplaces

Our heroes are the unsung,  humble Safety Managers  who Save Lives every day by their unwavering demands to make safety a priority.

Work with us to reduce the risk of impairment at your workplace, and join the growing league of unsung Heroes Saving Lives, One Test at a Time.   


Occupational Testing

Employee Training


Worksite Testing

Rapid Covid-19 Testing

Background Checks


Monday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Tuesday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Wednesday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Thursday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Friday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Saturday: By Appointment Only

Sunday: Closed

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Northstream Safety & Rehab