News Update – Suncor dispute ends

Jun 15, 2018

The Supreme Court of Canada has denied the Unifor union of Suncor’s most recent appeal on the key ruling regarding random drug testing at Suncor Energy’s oilsands operations in northeast Alberta.

This has been a years long proceeding, with ongoing appeals back and forth. It all started with Suncor beginning random drug testing for their safety sensitive positions, six years ago, at its sites in Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). The union, Unifor, then filed a grievance feeling that the testing requirements infringed on worker’s privacy rights.

The grievance was accepted by an arbitration tribunal and in 2014 the majority of the arbitration board ruled in favour of the union. This decision was then later quashed by an Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench which Unifor then appealed, but the decision was upheld on appeal.

Suncor was then set to begin testing again, in December of 2017, upon this Unifor once again requested to block this with an interim injunction until they were able to hear whether the Supreme Court of Canada would hear their appeal of the Queen’s Court decision.

The Supreme Court of Canada has now decided that they will not hear the union’s appeal of the key ruling by the Queen’s Bench so the decision will stand, however the injunction remains in place and the case has been referred back to a new arbitration panel.


CORRECTION: This article previously, incorrectly, stated that Suncor would be able to implement random testing in their safety sensitive positions, however their injunction remains in place and the case has been referred to a new arbitration panel, and no testing is able to take place at this time. This information is now properly reflected in the article.