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01. Is it illegal to do Random Drug and Alcohol Testing?

This is probably the #1 question we get asked. And the answer can be quite unsatisfactory… it depends. Since there are no laws, Canadians have adopted the laws of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) as a Best Practice Guide.

However, in Canada we are also concerned with the Privacy and Human Rights Laws. In order to comply with the Human Rights Acts in Canada and your province, there are some criteria that must be met:

  • Random Testing is done for those in Safety Sensitive Positions and / or Environments
  • Each employee must be covered by an EAP Program
  • The names must be chosen by a Computer-Generated Random Drug & Alcohol Program (the program must comply with the US Department of Transportation requirements)
  • Employees and Bargaining Agents must be informed of the decision to begin random testing at least 30 days prior to implementation

It’s important that you’ve documented any findings of drugs or drug paraphernalia as well as unusual or erratic employee behaviour to use as source documentation in your decision to begin random testing.

02. Marijuana is legal now – why are we still tested for it?

Even though Marijuana (Cannabis) is legal, there are properties in it (THC) which cause a risk of impairment. Impairment can last up to 24 hours (or more) even after the “high” is gone. Unlike alcohol, impairment from Cannabis cannot yet be verified, so some companies with Safety Sensitive positions have adopted abstinence as their only option. Anything else would present undue hardship to the company.

03. Why do I need to accommodate an employee that was injured outside the workplace?

Some companies only provide accommodations to those injured on the job. It’s important to know that accommodation isn’t just for those who were injured at work.  It could be any type of illness or injury, from any source.

In 2005, Ontario passed the Accommodations for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (or AODA) which outlines many of the new obligations employers have with their employees and the general public.

Click here to read the document.

04. We have a problem with sick time. It seems like an employee just “stubs their toe” and they get a doctor’s note. What can we do?

Doctors are put in an almost impossible spot at times. They need to believe and advocate for their patient, yet usually don’t have all the facts about what the job entails. It’s important to have a “Physical Demands Analysis” for each position so everyone knows what the job demands are. It’s also important to know what the employee is still capable of doing, so that accommodations can be made and the employee can get back to work. The longer it takes for an employee to return to work, the less likely they actually are to return at all.

05. Why are there so many Insurance Claims coming in for hearing loss? Some of them are from 20 or 30 years ago!

For companies with a noisy work environment, it’s important to have your employees hearing tested when they begin working for you, and annually thereafter. This is typically done by an Audiometric Screening Tester.

First, you want to have a baseline for their hearing levels before they begin work for you.

Second, with annual tests, hearing loss can be kept to a minimum.

If you haven’t ever done testing, and you have a noisy work environment, be prepared for the possibility of many hearing loss claims. Even from long ago.

Break the cycle. Start testing, and conserving your employees’ hearing now!



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

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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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