What are DOT Regulations?
Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations are a system of guidelines representing drug and alcohol testing parameters within the transportation industry that pertain to all safety-sensitive positions. Under United States jurisdiction, Canadian drivers crossing U.S. borders must submit to U.S.-based DOT drug testing guidelines while operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV) for public transit of goods.
The issue of administering drug testing procedures remains controversial for Canadian employers, stemming from legislative measures to prioritize uniform drug and alcohol regulations, independent of privacy law restrictions. A zero-tolerance policy can run counter to commercial outfits that operate domestically, causing employers to incur potential discrimination suits based on separate policies that differ from DOT-centered organizations. Incidentally, Canadian enterprises are demonstrating efforts to follow their United States counterparts for regulatory drug testing methodology. For instance, the DOT article CFR 49 Part 40 serves as an instrumental template for the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) to promote alcohol and drug testing on the whole.
While the overarching goal for drug testing is to rally a drug-free workplace environment, managerial oversights and lax protocol surrounding outdated policies can present legal hitches in building consensus around drug testing. In the transportation industry, enlisting the assistance of a third-party purveyor experienced in drug testing can be a viable measure in weighing the cost-to-benefits ratio over drug and alcohol-related incidents.
Because Canadian law recognizes alcohol and drug dependency as a disability, companies are obligated to accommodate individuals in a way that facilitates their capacity to meet essential job demands. As a result, employers can draw on the expertise of a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) in coordinating and implementing a solution where both domestic and international interests are paramount factors for safe handling.