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TTC to implement random alcohol, drug testing for all employees

Does Kathleen Wynne plan to privatize the TTC? Well, no.
File photo of Toronto Transit Commission headquarters. Brent Lewin / File / Getty Images

The Toronto Transit Commission is tired of the lengthy arbitration process for employees caught under the influence of alcohol and drugs on the job and is now moving ahead with a plan to conduct random testing.

In a memo issued to employees this week, TTC CEO Andy Byford said prior attempts to curb impairment at the workplace have failed.

“Since 2010, when the Fitness for Duty policy allowing for several forms of testing, but not random testing, was implemented, there have been continued instances of impairment while at work. That is simply unacceptable,” wrote Byford.

The TTC said random testing was added to the policy in 2011 but funding for the program wasn’t approved until just last month.

Byford said it will take a few months to finalize the program, including hiring a third-party to administer and implement the random testing.

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A staff report presented at last month’s TTC board meeting indicated 43 arbitration dates related to alleged impairment violations are scheduled this year with “many more to come in 2017.”

“Given the seriousness of this issue – it is after all, a workplace and public safety matter – the arbitration process is taking far too long to conclude,” said Byford.

The TTC said it also plans to lobby the provincial government to make random testing mandatory for all public transit agencies.

Byford insists the privacy for all employees will be respected throughout the testing process.

“I stress: your privacy is protected, while the safety of your co-workers and the public is strengthened,” the memo wrote.

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