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Ruling upholds ban on random testing

February 28, 2018

FORT MCMURRAYThe Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld an injunction on random drug and alcohol testing of Suncor employees in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

“There is no evidence that random testing improves safety, which is why Unifor is committed to more reliable methods to keep our members safe on the job while respecting their dignity,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Without violating workers’ basic rights, high levels of workplace safety with education and prevention can be achieved.”

The injunction was granted at Unifor Local 707A’s request on December 15, 2017. Unifor has filed for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to uphold an arbitration board’s ban on random testing. The union says random testing violates the fundamental rights of workers to privacy, respect, bodily integrity, and dignity.

In 2012, the union, which at the time was known as the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers' Union, filed a grievance and applied for an injunction when Suncor announced the unilateral implementation of random drug and alcohol testing in its Fort McMurray Oilsands operations. In March 2014 an arbitration panel ruled that the ban violated workers’ rights, but both a judicial review and then the Court of Appeal later set aside the panel’s decision, calling for a new arbitration board to hear the grievance.

“Suncor employees are already subjected to more alcohol and drug testing than Alberta’s drivers,” said Ken Smith, President of Unifor Local 707A, referring to Suncor tests following virtually every workplace incident. In contrast, the police can only demand that a driver submit to drug and alcohol testing if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the driver is impaired.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at or 778-903-6549 (cell).