Workplace Impairment

Procedure Number: 
Policy Number: 
Vice-President, Human Resources
September 26, 2019
Last Amended: 
September 26, 2019
Procedure Statement: 


This procedure forms part of JIBC’S Workplace Impairment Policy (the “Policy”) and should be followed and applied in relation to response and investigation of workplace impairment under the Policy. Terms are as defined in the Policy. 

Procedural Guiding Principles

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of the parties responsible for carrying out the obligations under the Policy and this Procedure are set out below:

Justice Institute of British Columbia

  • Fairly execute the Policy Procedures and ensure compliance; 
  • Clearly communicate expectations surrounding the use of impairing substance(s) in the workplace;
  • Ensure all employees, third party contractors and others conducting business on JIBC premises are educated on their roles and responsibilities;
  • Educate employees about the risks and potential consequences of impairment in the workplace, including the negative impact on job performance, health and safety, and corrective or disciplinary action that may result where an employee performs work in an impaired state;
  • Provide support, education and training to help employees and leaders recognize impairment that may create a risk or hazard in the workplace, and to understand the appropriate response;
  • Ensure employees are appropriately accommodated where a duty exists;
  • Ensure that employees who are experiencing a current or emerging substance use disorder, receive appropriate support and are referred to programs and services that promote sustained recovery; and,
  • Review and update the Policy and Procedures on a regular basis to ensure compliance with applicable legislation and health and safety regulations.


  • Shall understand, acknowledge understanding of and comply with the Policy as part of the obligation to perform work activities in a safe manner;
  • Must be fit for duty at the commencement of each workday and remain that way for the duration of their period of work;
  • Shall perform work in a safe manner in accordance with established safe work practices and applicable legislation;
  • Will report impairment to their manager and identify any requirement for workplace accommodation prior to performing work;
  • Seek support and/or appropriate treatment, where required;
  • Communicate and seek appropriate treatment for current or emerging substance use disorder or process or behavioural addiction; and,
  • Are required to use medication responsibly and to notify their manager of any potential unsafe side effects or potential impairment that may result from such use.


  • Be knowledgeable about the Policy and Procedures, and attend training as applicable;
  • Abide by the Policy and responsibly execute their responsibilities under it;
  • Monitor, evaluate, manage and document work performance with an objective of early identification and appropriate intervention based on the individual circumstances; 
  • Identify and take appropriate action to investigate any situation that may cause concern regarding an employee's behaviour, fitness for duty, or health and safety in the workplace;
  • Educate employees about the risks and potential consequences of impairment in the workplace, including: the negative impact on job performance, health and safety, and potential consequences of a Policy violation; 
  • Ensure that the investigation of incidents of impairment is carried out in accordance with these Procedures. Document in detail, all observations, communications, and investigation findings and provide this documentation to Human Resources;
  • Confer with Human Resources as appropriate;
  • Ensure that any employee who discloses impairment, a substance use disorder or process or behavioural addiction, is provided with appropriate support;
  • Collaborate with an employee where accommodation is requested and/or necessary; and,
  • Maintain employee confidentiality and privacy.

Human Resources

  • Undertake periodic reviews of the Policy and Procedure as appropriate in response to changes in government regulations, legal decisions and other factors;
  • Coordinate training and education for managers and employees;
  • Support managers with implementing the Policy;
  • Act as an objective resource within JIBC in matters related to the Policy and Procedures;
  • Where appropriate, advise managers on employee work restrictions/limitations, workplace accommodation, leaves of absence, and/or corrective or disciplinary actions for employees found to have violated the Policy; and,
  • Ensure employee assistance services are/or access to treatment is available, where appropriate.

Assessing Impairment and Fitness for Duty

Any observable change in an employee’s behaviour or ability to perform regular job duties that is impacting work performance, attendance, or has the potential to lead to a risk of incident, injury, or illness for the employee or others, should be immediately reported to management or Human Resources, who will determine an appropriate course of action. It is important that all observations, discussions, or actions taken are documented, in writing, and in detail.

Signs of impairment may include, but are not limited to:

  • Personality changes or erratic behaviour (e.g. increased interpersonal conflicts; overreaction to criticism; mood swings)
  • Behavioural changes (e.g., increased absenteeism or lateness; apathy; inability to focus)
  • Appearance of impairment at work (e.g. odour of alcohol or drugs; glassy or red eyes; unsteady gait; slurred speech; poor coordination; slow reactions)
  • Working in an unsafe manner or involvement in an accident/incident
  • Reduced productivity or quality of work

Investigations and Reporting

Investigations may occur when there are grounds to believe that an employee has violated the Policy. The employee should be able to provide a reasonable explanation for the behaviour or condition, and the manager shall take appropriate action to investigate any situation that may cause concern regarding an employee's behaviour, fitness for duty, or health and safety in the workplace.

Investigative Process

The following process will be followed by managers if there is reasonable suspicion that an employee is impaired on JIBC premises.  Reasonable suspicion that an employee is impaired will be based on objective observations of the employee’s behaviour, performance, and/or attendance. Note that not all steps may be applicable.

1. Contact onsite First-Aid responder or seek emergency medical assistance, where appropriate. In situations where the employee is violent or abusive, call 911 immediately and request assistance. 

2. Address any immediate health and safety concerns applicable to the employee or individuals in the immediate vicinity. This should include requesting that the employee stop work immediately until fitness for duty can be assessed. 

3. Document, in writing, all observations and where possible, seek input/support from Human Resources.

4. Arrange to meet with the employee to discuss your observations, concerns, and the employee’s fitness for duty. This meeting should take place in a private location and another member of management or Human Resources should be in attendance to witness and document the discussion. Confirmation of impairment and/or the conclusion that an employee is not fit for duty, will be made based on the best judgment of the present interviewers. A drug or alcohol test is not required to confirm impairment, subject to the form of discipline (if any) that may be imposed.

5. Where an employee is considered to be impaired on JIBC premises, the manager will:

a. Offer available resources and supports (e.g. Employee and Family Assistance Program); and

b. Make suitable arrangements for the employee’s safe transport home or to a medical facility.

i. The employee will be advised that JIBC has arranged transportation to the employee’s home address or a medical facility, depending on the severity of the observed impairment. In situations where an employee is struggling to maintain consciousness or is vomiting, alternative transportation (e.g., ambulance) should be called and the employee should not be left unattended at any time.

ii. An impaired employee will not be allowed to drive. The employee should be advised that if organized transportation is refused and the employee makes the decision to drive a personal vehicle, JIBC will contact the local authorities to report the situation.

6. An investigative meeting will be scheduled for the following regular work day to review the incident. Invitees to such meeting will include, but are not limited to: the applicable manager(s) and/or Human Resources representative who were present at the employee interview and any other attendees who are determined by the Vice-President, Human Resources to be relevant to the meeting.

7. After review of all relevant information and facts at the investigative meeting, a determination will be made as to whether a breach of the Policy occurred and the extent, if any, to which further intervention and/or discipline is warranted in accordance with this Procedure based on the individual circumstances. 

Conducting Searches

Where there are reasonable grounds to believe that prohibited impairing substance(s) or illicit substances are present on JIBC premises in violation of the Policy, a search may be conducted of personal and/or JIBC property in accordance with applicable local laws.  Managers must contact Human Resources to discuss their concerns and determine the necessity and legality of conducting a search in advance of proceeding. 

Any search conducted in accordance with this Procedure shall be done in the presence of the employee and a representative from Human Resources.

Consequences of Breach

The Vice-President, Human Resources or designate, will review each allegation of Policy violation on its individual merits and ensure that corrective measures are taken when an investigation determines that a Policy breach has occurred. 

Policy violations, including refusals to cooperate with an investigation, may be cause for intervention and/or corrective measures. Measures may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Education and/or training; 
  • Participation in further assessment and/or an independent medical evaluation by a health care provider to determine fitness for duty; 
  • Successfully complete a monitored treatment program as a condition of continued employment; and/or
  • Discipline up to and including termination of employment or contract.

Last updated October 21, 2019