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Conception Bay South adopts workplace drug policy

Staff who are suspected of being ‘unfit’ for work may be subject to random tests

CONCEPTION BAY SOUTH, N.L. —

By Jeff Pelletier
Special to The Telegram

The Town of Conception Bay South (C.B.S.) announced Tuesday it will adopt a new drug and alcohol policy for municipal employees.

In a news release, the town said employees may be subject to drug and alcohol tests under “very specific and clearly communicated circumstances.”

“The drug and alcohol policy indicates that all employees are expected to arrive for and be at work, fit for work, and ready to perform their duties in a safe and lawful manner,” the town said in a statement. “Employees and others covered by the policy are not fit for work if they have in their possession open alcohol or psychoactive drugs ... or arrive under the influence of alcohol or psychoactive drugs.”

Mayor Terry French said the policy would extend to all municipal staff, including subcontractors, volunteers and members of council. He added that C.B.S. is not the only municipality in the province to adopt this type of policy for its staff.

“Many large municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador have drug and alcohol testing in place,” he said. “It’s becoming a standard part of the way organizations conduct their business.”

According to the news release, municipal managers are being trained how to detect signs of intoxication as well as other aspects of the policy, which can be found on the town’s website.

The policy indicates an employee may be subject to testing in the following three circumstances: (1) after a potentially dangerous incident, (2) if there are “reasonable grounds” or a belief that an employee is impaired, and (3) if an employee has a prior history of requiring treatment for alcohol or substance abuse.

Testing would be administered by a third-party administrator. If the results are positive, employees will be required to speak to their supervisor or someone from human resources. They may be subject to termination, or required to meet with a substance-abuse professional.

In the news release, the town says certain accommodations would be available for employees who have a prior history of substance abuse.

“Employees who have a substance-abuse problem are encouraged to come forward so that the town can help find solutions, such as alternate duties or work modifications,” the statement reads.

The policy document also states individual confidentiality would be respected during testing, and information would be “limited to those who are required to assess the employee’s fitness to work or participate in any related accommodations.”

The policy is set to come into effect May 1.

jeff.pelletier@thetelegram.com

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