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Drug Testing & Background Checks (Up to date 2022)

In the event you’re increasing your small business from the US to Canada, it’s a good suggestion to brush up on how the employment rules differ between the 2 international locations. Whereas rules could seem comparable at first look, following the US guidelines and rules 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 count on when it comes to payroll, taxes, and employment requirements when increasing into Canada, we’d wish to take a second in the present day to debate the variations in drug testing and background checks.


Within the US, drug testing and background checks usually go hand in hand. They’re a standard precursor to employment for a lot of industries and positions—notably these the place heavy equipment is used. It’s so widespread that it’s virtually an expectation through the pre-employment course of. In actual fact, america is the one nation on the planet the place drug testing is used to a major diploma, in keeping 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 will not be definitely worth the authorized danger with the Human Rights Fee. Additional, the vast majority of Canadian employers should not permitted to keep up random drug testing insurance policies throughout employment. Usually, 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 attributable to 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, comparable 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 will likely appear a simple resolution, counsel ought to nonetheless be consulted earlier than implementing a drug testing coverage.


Even in these circumstances, there have to 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 medicine 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 dependancy?
  • Is there an goal foundation to consider that the danger triggered may adversely have an effect on the security of coworkers or the general public?

Additional, affordable price and post-accident drug assessments may be performed in some circumstances the place the employer has affordable trigger to suspect impairment at work.

Testing Constructive for Marijuana in Canada

The place the legal guidelines on hashish differ from state to state and on the federal degree 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 should 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 extremely regulated, there could also be circumstances the place a drug check is allowed and essential. Testing optimistic for marijuana through the pre-employment drug screening is probably going not sufficient to withdraw a proposal or refuse to rent a candidate. Since marijuana can stay within the system for an prolonged time, it is going to be tough to show if somebody was beneath the affect throughout work hours, making it tough to terminate employment for a optimistic outcome. 

What about psychedelics?

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


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


Though there isn’t a regulation prohibiting US corporations from performing background checks on potential Canadian staff, doing so may improve the size of the hiring course of and hurt the candidate expertise.


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



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