Random drug testing could lead to discrimination

A recent decision that paves the way for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to begin randomly testing its workers for drug and alcohol use later this month is problematic on multiple levels, and could lead to discrimination against employees, Toronto labour, employment, and human rights lawyer Christopher Achkar tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

As the article notes, in Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v. Toronto Transit Commission 2017 ONSC 2078, Ontario Superior Court Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco dismissed an application from the transit workers’ union for an injunction against an amendment to its “Fitness for Duty Policy” during arbitration.

The policy implements drug and alcohol testing of employees in safety-sensitive, management and executive positions, says The Lawyer’s Daily.

According to the ruling, this testing will deter people prone to using drugs or alcohol around their hours of work, which will increase public safety, the article reports.

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Peterborough Transit driver lost pay after refusing overtime shift driving city bus with pro-life ads on it


A Peterborough Transit driver was sent home without pay because she refused to drive a bus with the controversial pro-life ads, says her union – a claim that one city director has refuted.

A grievance was filed by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1320 and obtained by The Examiner. It calls for compensation for the driver who was sent home.

The grievance says the driver – a woman – was assigned to work overtime on April 4, the first day that pro-life ads appeared on the exterior of two buses.

“Her assigned bus featured anti-abortion ads which she found offensive, discriminated against her and poisoned her workplace,” states the grievance.

It also says the driver feared she would face “vexatious” comments from the public.

“She was removed from her assignment and sent home without pay,” the grievance states.

One city official says that’s inaccurate.

Wayne Jackson, the city’s public works director, spoke about the issue because transportation manager Kevin Jones was unavailable for comment.

Jackson said the driver had accepted an overtime shift, but then balked when she was expected to drive the bus with the controversial ad.

She declined the overtime, Jackson said, and another driver took the shift in her place.

“No one was sent home – she chose not to do the overtime work,” he said. “Now she’s decided she should get paid (for work not done).”

But Tyler Burns, the president of the union, doesn’t see it that way.

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Court upholds TTC’s random drug-testing policy


A judge has upheld the TTC’s plan to randomly test its employees for drug and alcohol use, ruling that the need to protect public safety outweighs the risk of infringing on transit employees’ privacy.

In a 23-page ruling released Monday, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court Frank Marrocco dismissed an application from the TTC workers’ union for an injunction against the policy, which was to have gone into effect Mar. 1.

The TTC said it now plans to begin random testing later this month.

In a statement the secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents more than 10,000 TTC workers, said employees were “disappointed” with the court’s decision. Kevin Morton alleged the policy “violates basic human rights” and is “an abuse of employer power against the hardworking women and men who safely move this city.”

However, in his ruling Justice Marrocco agreed with TTC management “that there is a demonstrated workplace drug and alcohol problem at the TTC, which is currently hard to detect and verify.”

He found that random testing would increase the chance that an employee who is prone to abusing drugs or alcohol at work would either be detected or deterred, which, in turn, would increase public safety .

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$19.4 million to be invested in Guelph Transit infrastructure


March 31, 2017, Guelph, Ontario – The governments of Canada and Ontario are making investments to create jobs and grow the middle class while building a foundation for a strong, sustainable economic future. Investing in public infrastructure supports efficient and affordable transit services that help Canadians safely get to and from work, school and other activities on time.

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Federal government invests $9.7 million into Guelph’s transit system


The federal government is investing about $9.7 million in Guelph’s transit infrastructure and related projects.

The funding, announced by local MP Lloyd Longfield at the Guelph Transit garage on Watson Road, is Ottawa’s share of a total of $19.4 million to be spent on five projects in the city. Across the province, federal funding for 312 transit projects was announced on Friday.

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ATU International Reacts to the Resignation of ATU Local 113 President Bob Kinnear

SILVER SPRING, MD: Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President Larry Hanley issued the following statement following the resignation of Bob Kinnear as president of ATU Local 113 in Toronto.

“With the resignation of Bob Kinnear as their president, today marks a new beginning for the 11,000 members of ATU Local 113. The last six weeks have been extraordinarily difficult for them and their families and, in fact, the entire labour movement. Fortunately, union democracy and international solidarity have prevailed.

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ATU Local 113 Member Conversation

On Wednesday of this week RankandFile.ca obtained a recording of a conversation between two executive board members at ATU Local 113, Tony Barbosa and John DiNino, occurring before the trusteeship. Both DiNino, who recorded the call, and Barbosa have confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

In this conversation recorded on January 31, we get a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes at Local 113 just prior to ATU International trusteeship

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