An interesting pilot project to evaluate random drug and alcohol testing has commenced with several owners and employers. The Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project (“DARRPP”) is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of a comprehensive testing program that includes mandatory testing of a segment of workers on a random basis. The website containing comprehensive information about the program is now live:

DARRPP is led by a working group made up of major oilsands industry employers and labour providers, including the following participants: 

Participating employers will introduce and monitor random workplace testing programs for safety-sensitive positions and share statistics related to their implementation.

Officially announced on June 20, the program will be implemented at various worksites over the coming months. Other owners and employers are expected to join in. DARRPP will report its findings and recommendations to the participants, government and other stakeholders in 2014, with a goal of recommending a useful industry policy framework based on the results of the pilot.

Over the last two years, DARRPP’s founders solicited input from human rights and privacy agencies and independent experts, including The Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta, to make sure the pilot addressed social concerns and legal requirements.

Organizations applying the guidance document must: 

  • Have a mechanism in place for assessment by a third party of individuals who test positive for alcohol or drug use, to determine whether any individual suffers an addiction (disability). 
  • Offer rehabilitation and accommodation for those who are diagnosed with an addiction (disability). 
  • Have controls in place that ensure protection of privacy and personal information of workers who are tested.

The guidance document also includes: 

  • Protocols that protect privacy and personal information for information shared between organizations participating in the Pilot. 
  • A dispute resolution process.