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May 26 2016

The Supreme Court of Canada Grants Leave to Appeal in Drug and Alcohol Policy Matter

Once again, the issue of drug and alcohol testing and policies will be subject to appeal, but this time before the Supreme Court of Canada, as it recently granted leave to appeal in Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corporation et al. This case (2015 ABCA 225), released in the summer of 2015, gave employers some much needed comfort regarding their ability to discipline or terminate employees in safety sensitive positions involved in a work place incident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The case also caused employers to review their drug and alcohol polices to ensure they contained provisions allowing employees to self-report and seek rehabilitative help for their addictions prior to a work place accident, without fear of discipline. That aspect of the policy was a key consideration in that decision. This decision was welcomed, particularly by those in the construction industry where drug and alcohol issues are of key importance.