A British Columbia arbitrator has struck down a mining company’s mandatory random drug and alcohol testing program, ruling that it is an unreasonable exercise of management rights given the necessity to balance the safety and privacy interests of the parties. Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Irving Pulp & Paper, Arbitrator John Kinzie ruled in Teck Coal Ltd. (Fording Coal and Elkview Operations) and the United Steelworkers, Locals 7884 and 9346, 2018 CanLII 2386 (“the Decision”) that the Random Testing Program was not justified.

The Decision is a disappointing one for many employers in British Columbia. Teck Coal will no longer be permitted to engage in random drug and alcohol testing of their workers at their British Columbia mining locations, barring a successful appeal of the Decision.

In this article we discuss the most recent development in Canada’s ongoing legal balancing act between random drug testing programs, employee privacy, and workplace safety concerns.

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If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.


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