Written by Laura Inglis and Michael S. Sestito
Justice Belzil of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has granted an injunction prohibiting Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) from implementing random drug and alcohol testing at its work site north of Fort McMurray (Unifor, Local 707A v Suncor Energy Inc, 2017 ABQB 752 [Suncor Injunction]).
Unifor, Local 707A (Unifor) applied for an injunction following the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal sending the matter back to arbitration (see Suncor Energy Inc. v Unifor Local 707A, 2017 ABCA 313 [Suncor CA]).
In the Suncor Injunction decision, Justice Belzil noted that the conflicting evidence proffered to him favoured granting the injunction as Unifor seeks leave to appeal Suncor CA to the Supreme Court of Canada. In making his decision, Justice Belzil reiterated the importance of both safety and privacy concerns:
As was highlighted in the Irving decision, privacy rights of workers are as important as safety concerns. In particular, the taking of bodily samples from anyone engages important constitutional issues. If [Unifor] is ultimately successful in the arbitration process, I do not accept that the impact on the privacy and dignity of the workers could be remedied (Suncor Injunction, at paras 57-58).
Suncor is appealing Justice Belzil's decision.
In short, the case for random drug and alcohol testing is far from closed.