Message from the Executives
FITNESS FOR DUTY POLICY
I want to update you on a decision the TTC Board made at its March 23 meeting regarding the Fitness for Duty policy.
Since 2010, the TTC has tested for alcohol and drugs post-incident, for reasonable cause, post-treatment and pre-employment (certification) for all safety-sensitive positions, as well as designated management and executives.
In 2011, random testing was added to the policy, though funding was not approved and, as such, that part of the program was not implemented. With the Board’s funding approval in March, however, we will now take steps over the next few months to finalize the program, including hiring a third party to administer and implement random alcohol and drug testing at the TTC.
As many know, there is an ongoing arbitration with respect to the entire Fitness for Duty policy, including random testing. Given the seriousness of this issue – it is, after all, a workplace and public safety matter – the arbitration process is taking far too long to conclude. The TTC will also be asking the Province of Ontario to consider legislation making random testing mandatory for public transit agencies, as is the case in the United States.
Random testing – and this is important – only tests for impairment at work. What you do on your own time is none of our business so long as it doesn’t affect your ability to do your job. What you do at work, however, is very much our business. Your safety, your co-workers’ safety, the safety of our customers and all road users is paramount.
I stress: your privacy is protected, while the safety of your co-workers and the public is strengthened.
Since 2010, when the Fitness for Duty policy allowing for several forms of testing, but not random testing, was implemented, there have been continued instances of impairment while at work. That is simply unacceptable. How do we not strengthen our existing Fitness for Duty policy with a proven deterrence of random testing? How do we explain to the public that we’re not taking the necessary steps to ensure the TTC is as safe as we can reasonably make it? We cannot.
Any of us subject to the Fitness for Duty policy, me and those on the Executive included, who shows up to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs cannot be allowed to continue their duties. Respecting privacy, providing a safe workplace, a safer public transit system, and ensuring those who have real dependencies get the help they need, is what progressive and responsible employers do. Strengthening TTC safety – yours and the public’s – is our duty and responsibility.
As this important issue progresses, I will keep you informed of developments.
Chief Executive Officer
April 18, 2016