Ontario Trucking Association wants mandatory drug, alcohol testing for commercial drivers

The President of the Ontario Trucking Association, Stephen Laskowski, say it's time the federal and provincial governments make drug and alcohol testing mandatory in Canada.

Association wants stricter threshold for legal blood alcohol levels

Ontario Trucking Association wants to lower the legal blood alcohol level for commercial drivers. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Three impaired truck drivers were charged in one week in Greenstone, in northwestern Ontario. The Ontario Trucking Association says that news is shocking to hear. Association president Stephen Laskowski talks about their concerns. 6:47

The Ontario Trucking Association wants the federal and provincial governments to make drug and alcohol testing mandatory for all commercial drivers.

Earlier in October, the Ontario Provincial Police charged three drivers in northwestern Ontario with impaired driving.

It is "inexcusable for any commercial vehicle operator to be operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol," said Stephen Laskowski, the president of the Ontario Trucking Association, adding that the trucking industry takes great pride on having a zero tolerance policy. 

 "In Canada, of all the fatally injured and legally impaired drivers, only 0.7 per cent were tractor trailer drivers. On a percentage basis, this is about 195 per cent lower than that of passenger vehicles and 178 per cent lower than that of motorcycle drivers." Laskowski said.
President of the Ontario Trucking Association says they take great pride in having a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. (Eric Gay/The Associated Press)

However, despite the low percentage, he added that they will be asking for the introduction of new legislation calling for a zero tolerance policy for blood and alcohol content in commercial drivers. 

Currently, the maximum legal limit for all drivers in Canada is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, but Laskowski is hoping that limit is reduced to 20 milligrams.

"Currently its a grey area, that trucking companies can have drug and alcohol testing programs." Laskowski said.

"What we are saying now ... is we need the governments to stand up and say we will stand beside employers and allow safety sensitive positions, like truck driving, drug and alcohol testing programs, without question, to be legal in Canada."

He said not all companies have the means or resources to go through a human rights challenge when an employee refuses to take a drug and alcohol testing, which is why we need to "allow employers, across Canada, to have the power, to manage this system. It's good for trucking and it's obviously good for public safety and road safety." Laskowski added.

With files from Jeff Walters and Up North