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Drug Testing & Background Checks (Up to date 2022)

For those who’re increasing your corporation from the US to Canada, it’s a good suggestion to brush up on how the employment laws differ between the 2 international locations. Whereas laws could appear comparable at first look, following the US guidelines and laws you’ve grown accustomed to for workers in Canada may get you into authorized bother with the Human Rights Fee.


12 Things an American Company Looking to Pay a Worker In Canada Needs to Know


Whereas there are many variations to anticipate by way of payroll, taxes, and employment requirements when increasing into Canada, we’d wish to take a second as we speak to debate the variations in drug testing and background checks.


Within the US, drug testing and background checks typically go hand in hand. They’re a standard precursor to employment for a lot of industries and positions—significantly these the place heavy equipment is used. It’s so widespread that it’s nearly an expectation through the pre-employment course of. The truth is, america is the one nation on the planet the place drug testing is used to a big diploma, in line with the Ontario Human Rights Fee.


Quite the opposite, drug testing in Canada isn’t permitted as a part of the pre-employment course of.


Whereas your solely purpose could also be to create a protected office, drug testing in Canada shouldn’t be definitely worth the authorized danger with the Human Rights Fee. Additional, nearly all of Canadian employers usually are not permitted to keep up random drug testing insurance policies throughout employment. Typically, random drug testing of staff is taken into account discriminatory and is seen as a violation of fundamental rights. The Ontario Human Rights Code, for instance, states that employers can’t discriminate in opposition to staff as a result of drug or alcohol dependence or abuse as a incapacity.

In Canada, a hazard to the office doesn’t stand as an computerized justification for random drug testing. However there are exceptions to the rule, corresponding to administering a drug check for safety-sensitive positions the place an accident or incident may trigger irreparable damages or dying. 

For instance, an employer could decide that transportation is a safety-sensitive place. Although this may increasingly appear an easy determination, counsel ought to nonetheless be consulted earlier than implementing a drug testing coverage.


Even in these instances, there should be a hyperlink between impairment and job efficiency. A 3-part check will be utilized to find out whether or not your office can justify discriminatory guidelines:


  • Is there an goal foundation for believing that job efficiency may very well be impaired by medication or alcohol?
  • For particular staff, is there an goal foundation for believing that ordinary absences, lateness, or erratic behaviour are associated to alcoholism or drug habit?
  • Is there an goal foundation to imagine that the chance triggered may adversely have an effect on the security of coworkers or the general public?

Additional, cheap price and post-accident drug exams can also be carried out in some instances the place the employer has cheap trigger to suspect impairment at work.

Testing Optimistic for Marijuana in Canada

The place the legal guidelines on hashish differ from state to state and on the federal stage within the US, marijuana is legalized for each medicinal and leisure use in Canada. Although leisure use is lawful, the legal guidelines are much like these relating to alcohol: use is prohibited within the office. Which means staff usually are not permitted to make use of marijuana earlier than or throughout their shift. 

Because of the legalities, it is strongly recommended that organizations implement clear insurance policies relating to drug use. Whereas pre-employment drug screening is minimal and testing throughout employment is very regulated, there could also be circumstances the place a drug check is allowed and obligatory. Testing optimistic for marijuana through the pre-employment drug screening is probably going not sufficient to withdraw a suggestion or refuse to rent a candidate. Since marijuana can stay within the system for an prolonged time, will probably be tough to show if somebody was underneath the affect throughout work hours, making it tough to terminate employment for a optimistic end result. 

What about psychedelics?

Using psychedelics in therapeutic settings is rising globally. It’s thought-about a breakthrough remedy for well being circumstances like despair, nervousness, and PTSD. Whereas that is solely simply being launched—Alberta is at the moment the one province regulating—it could be one thing to contemplate in a while. Drug insurance policies needs to be up to date commonly as new legal guidelines and laws are put in place.


The variations between background screening in Canada and the US are much less stark. Background checks are thought-about widespread follow within the US. In Canada, they’re used much less ceaselessly as a part of the pre-employment course of. Usually, they’re solely carried out on potential staff who will likely be working instantly with cash, weak individuals, or extremely delicate info.


Though there is no such thing as a legislation prohibiting US corporations from performing background checks on potential Canadian staff, doing so may enhance the size of the hiring course of and hurt the candidate expertise.


For those who work for an American firm trying to rent distant staff in Canada, it’s finest to have understanding of the variations in guidelines and laws between the 2 international locations. Alternatively, you could possibly interact an expert employer group (PEO) to deal with the duty of legislative and authorized compliance, payroll, and human sources in your Canadian staff. This partnership will assist make sure you stay compliant in your worker onboarding and administration processes.




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