Drug tests coming to the oil sands this fall

Despite misgivings by unions, random drug and alcohol testing for oil sands workers will get underway later this year.

The Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project (DARRPP), a stakeholder group of major industry employers and others, is organizing the program since the group believes that random drug testing is a goody way to prevent accidents.

"Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine can lead to increased risks on work sites, particularly in safety-sensitive positions such as heavy equipment operators and construction and maintenance trades, where a fleeting moment of inattention or a slow reaction can lead to a tragic outcome," says DARRPP in a news release.

Some of the companies taking part in the pilot program are Suncor, Total and Canadian Natural Resources

Union representatives are not happy with the program.

“Random drug testing shatters our privacy, destroys our dignity, and eliminates trust in our fellow workers and management,” says Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

“And there is little evidence to link random drug testing results to less substance abuse or a safer workplace.

The CEP would prefer to see employees have wider access to substance abuse programs.