TORONTO (EON) – A TTC employee was found to be under the influence of alcohol on Monday — the first day of random alcohol and drug testing at the transportation agency.
According to TTC spokesperson Brad Ross, the employee, who is not a driver, has been suspended with pay.
“While we are disappointed, this does affirm that this program is necessary to ensure that the system remains safe,” Ross said. “The vast majority of our employees are fit for duty but it only takes one catastrophe to turn this whole place upside down and we don’t want that to happen.”
Ross said that the employee is one of 10,000 workers with a “safety sensitive” position. Such positions include maintenance workers, supervisors and executives.
According to a report from CBC, the employee will be interviewed as part of an investigation. Although no decision has yet been made regarding discipline, Ross said that dismissal could be an option.
“We are being very, very careful in how we implement this program to ensure we are doing it with due process,” Ross said.
In April, the TTC was cleared to conduct random drug and alcohol tests on its employees after an Ontario Superior Court ruled that there is a “demonstrated workplace drug and alcohol problem at the TTC.”
On Wednesday, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Morton issued a statement confirming that the TTC had notified his union about the test result.
“Our union will provide whatever support is needed to ensure a fair process for the individual involved,” Morton said.
The TTC plans to subject about 20 per cent of its workforce to random drug and alcohol tests each year. According to Ross, an average of 50 employees will be screened each week by a third-party testing service.