Workers For Toronto Transit Are First to Take Random Drug Testing

For years the management of the Toronto Transit Commission have been promoting random drug testing for the workers. This month the TTC board granted them permission to do so.

“At this stage there is lots of details that we need to work out,” said Karen Stintz the TTC chair. “We need to work out how often employees get tested. What happens after they receive a test. What happens with a positive test. What those costs are and how we’re going to phase that in.”

This will be the very first transit operation in Canada to drug tests it workers to ensure the safety of the riders.

“Riders can have the knowledge that we have random drug and alcohol testing at the commission and we’re doing all we can to have a safe operating environment – and that operators are fit for duty when they show up to work,” said Stintz.

The final doubt came on August 30th when a mishap occurred and Jadranka Petrova, 43, was killed. The driver, William Ainsworth a 51-year old , who is charged with criminal negligence causing death and marijuana possession.

The TTC stated that since 2005 there have been a minimal amount of 78 incidents with employees abusing drugs and alcohol, although it is not clear if all of these incidents happened while on the job.

“We can tell you there have been ongoing incidents since 2008 and that based on the results of those we believe that our ‘fit for duty policy’ should — and can be — strengthened,” said Stintz.

The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, Bob Kinnear, who speaks for most of the TTC worker’s stated the new policy is “a violation of our Charter rights.” He says a legal challenge is guaranteed. He also stated that the union supports drug testing but says mouth swab drug tests are invasive.

“These tests in no way, shape, or form, determine impairment at the time — and that’s what we are all trying to alleviate,” he proclaimed.

 

 

 

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