Construction Owners Association of Alberta
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Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace - Alcohol and Drug Guidelines and Work Rule

Canadian Model v 5.0 - October 8, 2014

The Canadian Model For Providing a Safe Workplace: Drug and Alcohol Guidelines And Work Rule v5.0 is the most recent version of the Canadian Model released by the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA). The Canadian Model provides industry with recommendations for drug and alcohol testing procedures; it is the only document of its kind, tailored specifically for heavy industrial worksites.

A thorough review has been completed, with a number of edits to improve clarity, consistency and readability. Version 5.0 of the Canadian Model includes the following changes:

  • The Self Help section is improved by requiring that workers who need help: must seek that help, ensure they present no safety risk to themselves or others at the workplace, and comply with the policy and with any terms and conditions of the treatment program recommended for them.
  • Section 4.8 is amended to provide for the use of urine-based point-of-collection testing as a risk assessment tool, to assist in determining whether a worker should be returned to work pending the receipt of the urine or oral fluid laboratory analysis in respect to reasonable cause and post-incident tests. The amendments prescribe the conditions under which these quick point-of-collection tests must be conducted and the limitations on the use of these devices.
  • The model policy clarifies and updates the range of test result outcomes that may be reported by the Medical Review Officer in section 4.9 and Appendix A.
  • There are a number of updates in Appendix A respecting the collection and analysis processes.
  • Appendix B has been rewritten to make it consistent with Substance Abuse Expert qualifications, roles, processes and recommendations.
  • There has been an addition to the Frequently Asked Questions section regarding the timing of post incident testing, and a number of the other answers have been updated.
  • The model includes updated independent legal and medical opinions that are current in terms of the evolution of the law and the state of medical knowledge and treatment.

The latest version of the Canadian Model has been reviewed based on employee and employer perspectives, evolving Canadian law and international standards. These considerations have made the Canadian Model the gold standard for drug and alcohol testing in the construction industry.

Download Version 5.0 of the Canadian Model.

*please note the following error in version 5.0 - Section 4.9.4 refers to 3.1(d); however, it should be referencing 3.1(c)

Download Canadian Model Requirements - Information Bulletin: Selecting and Instructing Sample Collection and Laboratory Service Providers

The COAA Model and the Addendum represent a collaborative approach to the development and implementation of a standardized Alcohol and Drug Policy for construction industry stakeholders. COAA assumes no liability associated with the implementation or application of this model policy and guidelines. As always, employers should seek independent legal advice with respect the application to their individual alcohol and drug policies.

Forward any questions and comments to

 Canadian Model Version 5.0 Training Program

Additional Resources

Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Addiction and Mental Health Research Partnership Program have released the following documents regarding substance use, addiction and mental health in Alberta's construction industry:

Substance Use in Alberta's Construction Industry

Addiction and Mental Health in Alberta's Construction Industry - Final Technical Report

COAA Safety Best Practices