Discipline for off-duty cocaine use justified in safety-sensitive workplace

June 25, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30, has confirmed that employers have the ability to take disciplinary action against employees for drug and alcohol use in safety-sensitive workplaces.

The worker in this case was employed in a mine where a drug and alcohol policy had been implemented. The policy required workers to disclose any dependence or addiction issues and to make such disclosure in advance of any incident occurring. If employees followed the policy, they were offered treatment for their addiction. If disclosure was not made and an incident occurred and the employee subsequently tested positive for alcohol or drugs, he or she could be terminated.

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Reconsidering random drug and alcohol testing in Canada

July 10, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

Random workplace drug and alcohol testing is generally prohibited by Canadian employers in Canada. However, there are limited circumstances in which it may be permitted. A recent decision of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Suncor Energy Inc. v. Unifor Local 707A, provides some further guidance for employers operating in Canada. And provides them with a glimmer of hope. read more…

‘But it was due to my addiction’—when is last-minute confession too late?

June 01, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

It is not uncommon for an employee to disclose an addiction only when being terminated for misconduct that may be related to the employee’s substance abuse. The employee then tries to trigger human rights protections due to his or her “disability.” A recent Alberta court decision, Bish v. Elk Valley Coal Corporation, provides a good example of when such a claim may simply be too little, too late, even under Canada’s protective human rights laws. read more…

Canadian Supreme Court’s Principles Lead to Large Damage Award Against Employer

November 23, 2009 0 COMMENTS

By Katie Clayton and Farrah Sunderani

In our October 12, 2009, entry we looked at the extent to which Canadian courts are following the principles established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Honda v. Keays to awarding bad faith and punitive damages. Last month, an Alberta court was once again put to the test.

On October 13, 2009, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench released its reasons in Soost v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. where it followed the Supreme Court’s principles, although this time against the employer.

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