New Brunswick — The Picture Province will be the first in the country to roll out mandatory drug testing for anyone collecting employment insurance benefits.
A curious crowd of reporters were slack-jawed as Service Canada VP Mary Waycott delivered the surprise announcement this morning. “Starting February 10th, E.I. reporting will be done in person accompanied by a urine sample,” she explained. “The rules and regulations are quite simple: if you are found to have an illegal substance in your system, your E.I. benefits will be immediately suspended.”
Service Canada’s press release was accompanied by a pamphlet (available on their website: servicecanada.gc.ca) to better educate New Brunswick residents on the details of the program.
The informative bilingual pamphlet lists dozens of drugs as illicit, even some of the more fun ones including: cocaine, phencyclidine, opiates, amphetamines (methamphetamines), ecstasy (MDMA) and heroin (6-acetyl morphine).
Individuals using regulated methadone programs as well as medical marijuana cardholders will be tested accordingly and funds won’t be suspended.
The next reporting day, Feb. 10, will be a busy one for Service Canada locations across the province. Their reputation for an inability to act in a timely manner on most anything has skeptics of the program worried. Some, like Perry Harris, a seasonal fisherman from Shediac and lifetime marijuana user, are outraged at the initiative as a whole. “Marijuana is not a drug,” Harris said. “It’s a way of life for me and the old lady during the off-season.”
The announcement leaves drug users little time to get clean before testing. Health Canada suggests mass consumption of water and cranberry juice, taking lots of over-the-counter niacin, or bribing a kid for their clean urine as methods to rid the body of the listed banned substances.