Drug Testing & Background Checks (Up to date 2022)

If you happen to’re increasing what you are promoting 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 appear comparable at first look, following the US guidelines and rules you’ve grown accustomed to for workers in Canada might 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 anticipate when it comes to payroll, taxes, and employment requirements when increasing into Canada, we’d prefer to take a second right this moment to debate the variations in drug testing and background checks.


Within the US, drug testing and background checks typically go hand in hand. They’re a typical precursor to employment for a lot of industries and positions—significantly these the place heavy equipment is used. It’s so frequent that it’s nearly an expectation through the pre-employment course of. Actually, america is the one nation on the earth the place drug testing is used to a big 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 objective 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, nearly all of Canadian employers will not be permitted to keep up random drug testing insurance policies throughout employment. Usually, random drug testing of employees is taken into account discriminatory and is seen as a violation of primary rights. The Ontario Human Rights Code, for instance, states that employers can’t discriminate towards workers attributable to drug or alcohol dependence or abuse as a incapacity.

In Canada, a hazard to the office doesn’t stand as an automated justification for random drug testing. However there are exceptions to the rule, resembling administering a drug take a look at for safety-sensitive positions the place an accident or incident might trigger irreparable damages or loss of life. 

For instance, an employer might decide that transportation is a safety-sensitive place. Although this may increasingly appear a simple choice, 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 take a look at 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 might be impaired by medication or alcohol?
  • For particular workers, is there an goal foundation for believing that recurring absences, lateness, or erratic behaviour are associated to alcoholism or drug dependancy?
  • Is there an goal foundation to consider that the danger induced might adversely have an effect on the protection of coworkers or the general public?

Additional, cheap price and post-accident drug exams can also be performed in some circumstances the place the employer has cheap trigger to suspect impairment at work.

Testing Optimistic 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 employees will not be permitted to make use of marijuana earlier than or throughout their shift. 

As a result of 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 take a look at is allowed and needed. 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 will likely be troublesome to show if somebody was underneath the affect throughout work hours, making it troublesome to terminate employment for a optimistic consequence. 

What about psychedelics?

The usage of psychedelics in therapeutic settings is rising globally. It’s thought-about a breakthrough remedy for well being circumstances like melancholy, anxiousness, and PTSD. Whereas that is solely simply being launched—Alberta is at present the one province regulating—it could be one thing to think about afterward. Drug insurance policies ought to be up to date frequently 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-about frequent apply within the US. In Canada, they’re used much less steadily as a part of the pre-employment course of. Sometimes, they’re solely performed on potential workers who will probably be working instantly with cash, susceptible individuals, or extremely delicate data.


Though there is no such thing as a legislation prohibiting US corporations from performing background checks on potential Canadian workers, doing so might enhance the size of the hiring course of and hurt the candidate expertise.


If you happen to work for an American firm trying to rent distant workers in Canada, it’s greatest to have a superb understanding of the variations in guidelines and rules between the 2 international locations. Alternatively, you would interact an expert employer group (PEO) to deal with the accountability of legislative and authorized compliance, payroll, and human sources on your Canadian workers. This partnership will assist make sure you stay compliant in your worker onboarding and administration processes.



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