A growing Thunder Bay occupational testing company has recently opened a centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
Donna Nordstrom, North Stream Safety and Rehab president and CEO, told SooToday her company will soon be offering COVID-19 testing in the city, with the ability to get test results back in as little as two to four hours.
“We’re coordinating it and it will be there soon.
“Right now we do drug and alcohol testing but we also subcontract out nurse medicals,” Nordstrom said, North Stream’s local office having opened in mid-November and located within the Kresin Engineering Corporation building on Fourth Line East.
COVID-19 testing will be conducted there, Nordstrom said. Along with drug and alcohol tests, North Stream Safety and Rehab offers pre-employment occupational tests, including spirometry (breathing tests), audiometry (hearing) and fitness tests.
Fitness tests, Nordstrom said, could include climbing a ladder if ladder climbing will be part of a person’s job.
“We’ve got shovelling stations, weightlifting stations and push-pull stations, mainly in Thunder Bay and Wawa, but we’ll get that organized for Sault Ste. Marie shortly.”
North Stream, owned by Nordstrom and established in 2016, has its head office in Atikokan, with centres in Fort Frances, Marathon, Red Lake, Thunder Bay, Wawa, White River and now Sault Ste. Marie. The company has 16 employees across the board.
“We can also test anyone who travels into the U.S. with a commercial vehicle,” Nordstrom added. “We have very strict standards for our testing staff.”
North Stream also offers virtual counselling from therapists (available to Sault residents) for those in rehab, arranges for treatment, carries out follow-up alcohol and drug testing, ensures clients are observing relapse prevention, and coordinates an employee’s return to work.
North Stream is also available for 24/7 testing. Testing includes urine samples for drugs and breath tests for alcohol.
“I previously worked for Manitoba Public Insurance as a serious injury claim case manager and we saw a lot of the carnage from people drinking and driving or doing drugs and driving. I just decided I wanted to start intervening, hopefully preventing some people from going through that (by screening potential or current employees of companies for drug and alcohol use and preventing workplace accidents stemming from abuse of those substances),” Nordstrom said.
“Some people can be pretty upset with us for telling them ‘you have to go for treatment’ and for having them go, but then afterward, sometimes they say ‘you saved my family.’ Keeping families together is very important. That’s what keeps me going.”