The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether an employer must
have "reasonable cause" to conduct random alcohol testing
on unionized employees, or whether an inherently dangerous
workplace is sufficient to justify random alcohol testing.
In the case, a unionized Irving Pulp and Paper employee, who
occupied a safety sensitive position, was randomly tested for
alcohol using a breathalyser. The test revealed a blood alcohol
level of zero. Nevertheless, the union filed a policy grievance
challenging the provision of the policy that permitted random
alcohol testing "without cause".
The New Brunswick Court of Appeal decided that Irving's
kraft paper mill was an inherently dangerous workplace, and that
Irving did not have to prove that there was an existing alcohol
problem in the workplace in order to conduct random alcohol
The union has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The
SCC's decision will be of interest to employers across
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