At Teck, safety is a core value and we are committed to ensuring a safe work environment for our people. We take our obligation to provide the safest possible workplace for our employees very seriously. We strongly believe that taking measures to eliminate misuse of drugs and alcohol that can affect at-work performance and safety is an important way we can achieve our vision of everyone going home safe and healthy every day.
Teck operations in Canada were early adopters of post incident and reasonable cause testing in 1999, which has been widely adopted across the company. Despite our success with this testing, we were still experiencing an unacceptable number of incidents a decade later. In consultation with drug and alcohol experts, we learned that the most effective way to reduce drug and alcohol use in workplaces around the world, including mines in the United States, Australia and Chile, was with random testing.
There is no law against random drug and alcohol testing in Canada. Therefore, it is permitted in a non-unionized context. In a unionized context, random drug and alcohol testing is permitted if it is a reasonable exercise of management’s rights under the applicable collective agreement. Arbitrators have held that random drug and alcohol testing is reasonable if there is a significant problem with drugs or alcohol in a particular workplace. Teck strongly believed that it had met the threshold. The arbitrator disagreed.
We are disappointed with the decision of the arbitrator. However, as a result of the decision, we have now stopped random drug and alcohol testing at our steelmaking coal sites in British Columbia. We are in the process of reviewing potential next steps to ensure that the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees that was achieved through random testing is not lost. We expect employees to be fit for work and will not tolerate drug or alcohol impairment in the workplace, as part of our commitment to the safety of our employees.