Suncor Energy Inc. has recently attempted to implement a mandatory, random drug and alcohol testing policy among employees in “safety-sensitive” or “specified” positions at their oil sands work site Fort McMurray, Alberta. These positions are held by about 82 percent of the 3,383 union members employed at the site.
An employee’s right to ensure workplace safety versus an employee’s right to privacy – these competing rights have been present in the workplace for many years. On one hand, employers must be able to adopt policies to protect their workforce and abide by statutory health and safety obligations. On the other hand, employees expect that they will not be subject to intrusive policies that unreasonably infringe on their privacy expectations.