10 Steps for Employers to a Drug Free Workplace


This guide is for you, the employer. It will help you develop, implement and maintain a drug-free workplace (DFW) program. The purpose of a DFW program is to enable your company to effectively deal with drug and alcohol (collectively referred to as “substances”) misuse as a matter of safety, health and performance.

As a treatment center for addiction, we find that many of our clients have lost promising or long-term careers due to problems with drugs or alcohol. It is a sad reality that, despite increasingly negative consequences, an individual with a substance problem often fails to seek help. Far too often, criminal charges, divorce or job loss has to occur before the substance misuser agrees to go to treatment. However, after countless conversations with clients and their families, we at Sunshine Coast Health Center assert that marriages and careers can be saved with early effective intervention.

A DFW program will provide a direct benefit to your company by reducing:

  • Exposure to corporate liability for workplace accidents caused by employees who are under the influence
  • Exposure to liability under human rights and privacy legislation
  • Absenteeism and overtime to cover absenteeism
  • Damage to equipment and company vehicles
  • Disability and insurance claim costs
  • Theft from employees requiring funds to support their habit
  • Replacement and training costs due to turnover

A DFW program will also demonstrate to provincial and federal regulatory authorities your commitment to the health and safety of workers and the public. While creating a drug-free workplace is not easy, the ten steps presented will help you achieve your goal of protecting your workplace while avoiding potential pitfalls. You will also learn about a variety of affordable community and online resources that can assist in the design and implementation of your DFW program.

We trust your employees and their families will respond positively to your efforts to create a better workplace free from the effects of drugs and alcohol. Just remember that while a healthy and safe community is everyone’s responsibility … YOU are the key to a drug free workplace!

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