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2. Scope of this policy

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Drug and alcohol testing is a concern for Ontario employers that have safety-sensitive operations, or that are subject to U.S. regulatory requirements (e.g. the trucking industry)[12] or to the policies of U.S. affiliates with “zero tolerance” for the consumption
of drugs or alcohol. For these reasons, this policy focuses on workplaces, especially where safety is a workplace objective.[13] However, the principles could apply to other social areas.[14]

Note that international and interprovincial transportation companies are under federal jurisdiction.[15] Airlines, interprovincial and cross-border trucking and bus services and other federally-regulated employers are subject to the federal Canadian Human Rights Act[16] and not provincial human rights laws.

[12] Most employers that are subject to U.S. commercial motor vehicle regulations are likely to be under federal jurisdiction, which would be covered under the Canadian Human Rights Act. However, even provincially regulated companies that may have only the occasional driver seeking to enter the U.S. are also subject to regulatory requirements for drug and alcohol testing to enter the U.S.

[13] Alcohol and drug testing in non-safety-sensitive workplaces may be difficult to justify under the Code. Policies that focus on purposes other than safety (such as productivity) would be difficult to justify as bona fide requirements, if these policies lead to negative consequences for people with addictions or perceived addictions. See section 4 for more information.

[14] For example, drug and alcohol testing is often used in competitive sports to ensure fair competition. In another example, the OHRC has taken the position that drug or alcohol testing as a prerequisite to eligibility for basic income support programs is prima facie discriminatory. Letter from Chief Commissioner Keith C. Norton to the Hon. John Baird, Minister of Community and Social Services (unpublished, July 1999). The OHRC expressed concern about the Government’s announced plans to test welfare recipients for drugs or alcohol.

[15] Constitution Act, 1867 (UK), 30 & 31 Vict, c 3, reprinted in RSC 1985 at sections 91 and 92.

[16] Canadian Human Rights Act, RSC 1985, c H-6.

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