Metrolinx eyeing random drug, alcohol testing for workers

Photo of a GO Train.
Photo of a GO Train. Machado Noa / File / LightRocket via Getty Images

Ontario transit agency Metrolinx is looking into the possibility of instituting random drug and alcohol tests for it workers in light of recent episodes with the TTC.

A spokesperson for the crown company, which operates Go Transit and the Union-Pearson express, revealed the existence of a committee which is studying the viability of such a move.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told AM640’s Kelly Cutrara Show, that the delicate part of the initiative is the balance between safety and the right of privacy.

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“It’s a privacy issue where you have to balance the right of an individual’s privacy to safety and security,” said Aikens.

READ MORE: Metrolinx has been sharing data of Presto card customers with police

The company traditionally has had a good record in regards to drug and alcohol incidents with only one in recent times when a driver was removed from duty in April of 2017 following a routine check at Square One GO Station.

However, recent episodes within the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in which four employees failed random tests has caught Metrolinx’s attention.

READ MORE: 2 more TTC employees fail random drug and alcohol testing

“We have a fitness for duty policy that has all kinds of checks and balances in it,”said Aikens. “We do some testing now, depending on the circumstances, for example when there has been an accident, or if a supervisor has any concerns.”

Metrolinx employs over 800 workers represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1587,  while another 800 workers are contracted by the company  from Bombardier which are led by Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Division 660.

“It’s too early to say at this point, but we certainly are looking to see how it’s implemented on the TTC,” said Aikens, “The law right now is a bit murky, so while it’s being tested at the TTC, we’re watching that to see if we move towards that direction.”

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