Random drug and alcohol testing for TTC workers begins March 1
The TTC today gave formal notice to its four unions that it will implement random drug and alcohol testing starting March 1, 2017. At its November 30 board meeting, TTC commissioners approved a staff implementation plan that will see 20% of all employees in safety sensitive positions, including designated management and executives, subject to random testing for drugs and alcohol.
The TTC will test only for likely impairment at the time of the test. Test results will indicate a pass or fail. The TTC has no interest in what its employees do on their own time, unless it has a potential impact on the workplace. Any employee who feels they have a dependency or addiction is encouraged to seek treatment either directly through the TTC's Occupational Health Department or the TTC's Employee and Family Assistance Plan. The TTC has a duty to accommodate employees with a disability and takes this responsibility seriously.
In 2010, the TTC implemented a new fitness for duty policy where testing occurs at pre-employment, as well as for reasonable cause, post-incident, post-violation and post-treatment, for safety sensitive positions. Post-treatment testing occurs when an employee has declared they have a dependency and has been treated for it. The policy reserved the right to implement random testing in the future.
The TTC has continued to see an increase in the number of reasonable cause and post-incident positive and refusal test results since 2011. This is not acceptable and the TTC cannot wait any longer to act. The safety of its employees, customers and all road users - motorists, cyclists and pedestrians - is paramount in all that it does.
The TTC has seen a 200% increase in workplace impairment and test refusals from 2011 to 2015. From 2014 to 2015 alone, there was an 80% increase of impairment at work or refusing to submit to a drug or alcohol test year over year. Random testing will act as a deterrent to those who may otherwise come to work when they are not fit for duty.
Positive & Refusal Test Results for Drugs (oral fluid sample) and Alcohol (breathalyser) 2010-2016:
(from Oct 17)
(up to Nov 30)
|6 positive test results in 2010||9 positive test results in 2011||16 positive test results in 2012||18 positive test results in 2013||15 positive test results in 2014||27 positive test results in 2015||21 positive test results in 2016||112 total positive test results from 2010 to 2016|
The TTC also conducts pre-employment testing for drug use by way of urinalysis for external candidates interested in working for the TTC in either a safety sensitive or designated management or executive position. Since Feb. 1, 2010 and until Nov. 30, 2016, there have been 186 positive test results.
More than 10,000 TTC employees will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing, including all operators and maintenance employees, designated supervisors, managers and executives - anyone whose job has accountability or responsibility for the safety of employees and the public.
A third party provider will generate a random list of employees and conduct the tests on the TTC's behalf: a breathalyser for alcohol and an oral fluid sample for drugs. While the breathalyser will provide an immediate result, drug test results take 2-3 days. Unless there's reason to believe an employee is, in fact, impaired, they will return to their jobs while awaiting test results. An employee could be tested more than once throughout the year, or not at all. The TTC, as the employer, has no say in who will be tested or when.
In the United States, random drug and alcohol testing has been federal law since 1991, and is also the practice in the United Kingdom and Australia. The TTC is actively lobbying the provincial government, together with other organizations like the Ontario Public Transit Association and the Canadian Urban Transit Association, to enact legislation making random testing mandatory for the transportation sector in Ontario. In the meantime, it will continue ahead with its implementation plan.
The cost of the program is $1.3 million and has been approved by the TTC Board for 2017.