Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp

Supreme Court Hearings

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp and Paper, Limited (December 7, 2012)
Case # 34473

The respondent, Irving Pulp and Paper, operates a kraft paper mill along the banks of the St. John River.
Irving unilaterally adopted a workplace policy which included mandatory random alcohol testing for employees holding safety sensitive positions.
An Irving employee and member of the union occupying a safety sensitive position was randomly tested.
The test revealed a blood alcohol level of zero.
Nevertheless, the union filed a policy grievance challenging the reasonableness of the policy.
The arbitration board found that Irving failed to demonstrate that the mill posed a sufficient risk of harm that outweighs an employee’s right to privacy.
Specifically, the board concluded that Irving didn’t cite enough evidence of prior incidents of alcohol-impaired work performance to justify the policy.
The board concluded that although the mill was “a dangerous work environment,” it wasn’t deemed “ultra dangerous.”
The Court of Queen’s Bench allowed the application for judicial review and quashed the board’s decision.
The Court of Queen’s Bench ruled it was unreasonable to require evidence demonstrating a history of alcohol abuse in the workplace.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the union’s appeal.