Suncor Stunner: Court Bars Enforcement of Random Drug Testing
A case that has commanded national attention seemingly came to an end a few weeks ago when the Alberta Court of Appeal, the province’s highest court, ruled that Suncor’s random drug testing policy for oil sands workers was a justifiable safety measure given the history of worker drug abuse at the site. But in a stunning development, the Court of Queen’s Bench issued an injunction barring Suncor from enforcing the policy until the union’s appeal is ultimately resolved. Worker privacy counted just as much as safety, the court reasoned. And those privacy rights would be irreparably damaged if the policy was enforced. The irreparable damages ruling is in direct opposition to an Ontario case refusing to enjoin random drug testing for Toronto Transit Commission workers. If the policy was eventually found illegal, money damages would make up for any privacy harms suffered by the workers. But the Alberta court took the opposite view saying that money was inadequate to undo damage to privacy [Unifor, Local 707A v Suncor Energy Inc, 2017 ABQB 752 (CanLII), Dec. 7, 2017].