Pubdate: Tue, 04 Mar 2008
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2008 The Halifax Herald Limited
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


SYDNEY (CP) - A resident of the Membertou First Nation believes 
mandatory drug and alcohol tests being introduced for many band 
employees are an infringement on their human rights.

Fishing boat captain John Bonham Paul said Monday that drug tests may 
be justified in his job but not for employees in some other areas.

"I can see me, I am in a safety sensitive situation, but I can't see 
my 15-year-old niece, who works at a concession stand in bingo," said 
Paul, whose father, Terry Paul, is the band's chief.

"They want to test her and to me that is ridiculous. That is 
infringing on human rights, I say."

Membertou's drug and alcohol policy states that the misuse of illicit 
drugs, alcohol and medications jeopardize the safety of band members, 
employees and customers.

Testing will be required for some 285 workers employed in areas that 
also include home care, the gaming commission, entertainment centre, 
market, restaurant kitchen, environmental services, public works and 
housing, and education.

John Bonham Paul has posted signs in the window of his home that 
read: "Say no to corporate bullying and say yes to human rights."

He said drug tests can find signs of marijuana for four weeks after 
use while traces of harder drugs like crack disappear much sooner, 
which may encourage some people to ingest harder drugs.

Employees will be tested on a random basis and can be ordered to take 
a test if there is reason to believe they may be under the influence.

Trevor Bernard, the band's executive director, stressed that the drug 
tests are a safety issue rather than a moral policy.

"It is entirely 100 per cent rooted in safety," he said.

"We are not trying to impose morals on anybody about how they live 
their lives but we want to ensure for the safety of our workers and 
liability reasons, our operations are safe."

Employees violating drug, alcohol or medication guidelines will be 
suspended for no less than 24 hours, during which a group of 
directors will decide on further discipline.

"Employees who have no intention of making themselves fit to work 
could lose their jobs," Bernard said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom