Canadian drivers advised to comply with US drug/alcohol tests

The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s drug and alcohol testing policy acknowledges that Canadian truck drivers operating across the border need to comply with the US Department of Transportation’s testing regulations, according to information from the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

While taking a dim view of pre-employment and random testing of Canadian-route drivers, the commission states that “for trucking and bus businesses that operate exclusively or predominantly between Canada and the US, not being banned from driving in the US may be a bona fide occupational requirement.” This position is consistent with the CTA submission to the commission during the consultation period in 2001.

According to David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer, the new policy confirms the practices now in place throughout the industry in Canada. “Experience has shown that drug and alcohol use among professional truck drivers is significantly lower than in the general population, but Canadian carriers with cross-border operations must be able to comply with US laws or suffer severe penalties, including going out of business,” he says.

The commission’s stance on testing of drivers operating in Canada is largely unchanged, and reflects human rights legislation, along with several years of legal precedent, according to Bradley.

“In the absence of Canadian regulations governing drug and alcohol use in transportation, carriers have long recognized their obligation to structure testing policies in accordance with human rights law, while at the same time ensuring that employees in safety-sensitive positions are properly evaluated,” Bradley says.

The full text of the drug and alcohol policy may be found on the Human Rights Commission’s website at Commission.

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