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Mandatory drug testing became a public issue in Canada during the summer of 1986 as a result of action taken in the United States. Initial reactions were emotional and polarized. Of prime concern currently are the employment-related issues; there is emphasis on facilitating access to employee assistance programs for workers having alcohol or drug abuse problems. There is no legal prohibition of testing, but there have been demands for such legislation. Testing of railway workers for alcohol and drugs has been proposed, subject to strict conditions, for employees in designated positions (where public safety is at risk), for cause and after an accident. Public reaction will be taken into account before these proposals are implemented.
Science policy advisor, Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety, Office of the Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Labour, Toronto, Ontario
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