New Metrolinx policy ensures employees are ‘Fit For Duty’
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:49PM EDT
A new, expanded “Fit For Duty” policy outlining drugs and alcohol standards for Metrolinx employees is expected to go into effect next month.
The policy says that all Metrolinx employees must be able to “safely and acceptably perform assigned duties without limitations resulting from (but not limited to) alcohol, drugs, and/or medications; the misuse or failure to take medications as director; and/or extreme fatigue.”
“Safety is our prime consideration with our customers and our riders every week, every day, every month, every year,” Phil Verster, the CEO of Metrolinx, told CTV News Toronto. “This is ensuring that we are fit for duty and ready to perform that duty.”
The new ‘Fit For Duty’ policy expands on a previous policy that applied only to train and bus drivers, as well as construction workers.
It also allows for drug and alcohol testing if it is determined that an employee in a safety-sensitive position may be “unfit for duty” or if a critical incident takes place.
Verster said the policy isn’t meant to “catch people” and does not include a random drug testing component similar to what is used at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
“The Metrolinx policy is not random testing; however, random testing is the future for all transit operations and where the TTC is today is a really strong and positive place,” Verster said.
Managers will be provided with more direction and training in order to recognize signs of alcohol and drug use, as well as extreme fatigue.
Marijuana is scheduled to become legal in a month and employment lawyer Soma Ray-Ellis said that companies need to start discussing how they are going to deal with the substance in the workplace.
“One out of 10 Canadians are using cannabis so employers have to understand that this issue is coming to their front doors very quickly,” she said. “Have your policies ready, have training sessions with your employees. Clearly outline what your expectations are from them, in fact put it in their employment contract that you know substance abuse at work is not accepted and that people are not to come to work being impaired. It’s not a lot to ask for.”
There are nearly 4,000 employees at Metrolinx.