Canada’s nuclear regulator updates its drug and alcohol testing requirements

From: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

These requirements are outlined in the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) regulatory document, REGDOC-2.2.4, Fitness for Duty, Volume II: Managing Alcohol and Drug Use, Version 3, which was updated based on years of rigorous research, benchmarking and extensive consultation.

The recent updates include revised drug testing thresholds and approved methods for oral fluid testing and point-of-collection testing. They complement other existing requirements, such as random and pre-placement testing, that ensure facility staff in key roles perform optimally and provide the highest level of safety for all Canadians.

“We are proud to have been the first federal regulator in Canada to require pre-placement and random testing of alcohol and drug use for safety-critical positions,” said Rumina Velshi, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. “Our staff performed extensive research and worked with international and national experts to assemble the best and most recent scientific advice on which to base our latest requirements.”

Depending on the nature of their job, nuclear workers may be tested:

  • Before being hired
  • After an incident has occurred
  • Randomly
  • If a supervisor has cause to believe there is a reason to test (also known as ‘reasonable grounds’)
  • Follow-up after confirmation of a substance use disorder

The CNSC consulted with a variety of organizations, including unions, licensees, as well as individual Canadians. The nuclear industry has signaled its support for the amendments to the regulatory document. Details on the public consultation as well as research used to inform the regulatory document is available on CNSC’s website.

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