This paper looks at the implementation of smoking restrictions in Canadian workplaces in an attempt to discover the impetus for these new policies and laws, as well as some of their social and legal implications. Workplace smoking restrictions have come about because of new medical evidence claiming a real hazard to non-smokers from environmental tobacco smoke. Although this evidence is inconclusive with respect to healthy non-smokers, there is still enough suggestion of a long-term risk to warrant preventive action.
The increased incidence of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is beginning to have a significant impact in the workplace. Some unique employment issues are being raised because of two dimensions of the problem: first, the disease is fatal and to date there is no known cure; and second, as a result of the lack of knowledge about AIDS, a great deal of fear of transmission of the disease persists among other members of the workforce.
Employment related drug testing has become a contentious issue in Canada. While some employers have implemented some form of drug testing and many more are still considering it, the extent of its legality has yet to be determined by the human rights commissions, arbitrators and the courts. This essay examines the legal implications of employment related drug testing in Canada by analyzing relevant human rights legislation, arbitral jurisprudence, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In carrying out this analysis some reference is made to the legal developments in the United States.