In an announcement released on November 29th, Suncor confirmed that it has made an agreement with the union representing its Fort McMurray employees (Unifor) that allows it to proceed with random alcohol and drug testing for all safety-sensitive positions.
Suncor has informed its suppliers that it will be implementing the program in the first quarter of 2019 at all of its work sites in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Contractors working at Suncor facilities are required to implement random testing at the same time.
From previous litigation between Unifor and Suncor, it was clear that Suncor had gathered substantial evidence showing a problem with alcohol and drug use at its workplaces. That has been considered by the courts to be a necessary precondition before an owner can implement random testing programs.
It is expected that other oilsands operators and other employers in related industries will be emboldened to try to follow suit.