The Canadian Model


The 5th version of the Canadian Model for Providing a Safe Workplace (The Canadian Model) was released in October 2014 by the Construction Owner’s Association of Alberta (COAA).

Click here to download the full version of the revised model:

The Canadian Model – Version 5.0

The Canadian Model

The Canadian Model has come to be the standard in workplace testing protocol in the Canadian industrial sector.  Most work sites that demand work

place drug and alcohol testing, require providers to adhere to the requirements of the Canadian Model.

Changes to the Model That You Need to Know*


  • 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. (Allowable reasons-for-testing that allow for POCT  include: Reasonable Suspicion, Post-Incident and Near Miss – NOT Pre-Access Testing)
  • 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. (The category of Safety-Advisory may be issued officially by the MRO.  This refers to cases where a worker is properly using prescription medications, but the side effects may affect worksite safety, amongst other things. )
  • 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.

*Please note that the bulleted changes come directly from the COAA website.  Notes in blue were added by Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants.  If you have questions about how the changes to the Canadian Model, may affect you or your business, please contact us today for a free consultation.