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What an employer can do with a positive
drug test is another can of worms. Drug ad-diction
has been found to be an illness un-der
employment and human rights law.
Like all illnesses, an employer has to try
to accommodate that illness. While that
doesn’t mean permitting an impaired indi-vidual
to continue working, it does mean
that immediate terminations and “zero tol-erance”
are usually not the answers. Just
like an employer would be expected to al-low
an employee some time off to deal with
a heart condition, they will be expected to
do the same for an employee with an addic-tion.
Employer drug testing is looked up-on
more favourably when it is part of an
overall safety and wellness program in the
workplace, as opposed to a way of identify-ing
and “weeding out” drug users.
If anything, one of the biggest practical
implications for employers after legaliza-tion
may be the need to increase training
for supervisors in the area of recognizing
signs of impairment, as having reasonable
grounds for suspecting present impair-ment
is one of the situations that can jus-tify
a drug test.
The coming months will be very inter-esting
as legislation gets introduced and
our country begins to deal with some of
the more practical implications of legal-ization.
Paul Harasen, BA, LLB is a partner
at Kanuka Thuringer LLP.
Just like an employer would be expected
to allow an employee some time off
to deal with a heart condition, they
will be expected to do the same for
an employee with an addiction.
44 Think BIG | Quarter 1 2017 | saskheavy.ca