Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act
The three most viewed articles on HRinfodesk this week deal with how a probation period is an opportunity to demonstrate skills, an employer’s failure to prevent workplace harassment. and a Human Rights Tribunal decision to reinstate a terminated employee after the employer failed to accommodate.
Imagine a situation where your employee is seriously injured by an outside party…
“Excessive claims of workplace harassment are a sign that our society has become far too sensitive and it really needs to stop.” This is the message I received from workshop participants this week during a group discussion on the topic of the prevention of workplace harassment and discrimination. But is it true?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of the requirements of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 are uncontroversial, and most organizations should have little trouble understanding them and complying. However, one aspect of the law has caused more discussion and confusion than any other: the domestic violence provisions, which require employers to intervene in instances where they suspect (based on reasonable evidence) that an employee has suffered or is suffering from domestic violence, particularly if that violence might reach into the workplace.
As a human rights advisor and educator I was encouraged to overhear this educational conversation about harassment at Tim Hortons. I was concerned however that part of the message this group was hearing was incorrect and misleading.
You have a legal obligation to understand how the race, religion and sexual orientation of your employees can impact their safety at work. Understanding these factors will empower you to take steps to protect your workers from harassment and violence as required by the recent amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 168).
The Ministry of Labour has announced that the safety of young and new workers will be the focus of a four-month enforcement health and safety blitz across Ontario beginning in May 2010. According to the government, young and new workers in Ontario are four times more likely to be injured during the first month of employment than at any other time.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires all employees to:
- Act in compliance with the law
- Use protective equipment and devices provided by their employer
- Report defects in equipment
- Report the existence of workplace hazards
On January 27, 2010, I attended the HRPA annual conference. I was most interested on the session titled, Violence in the Workplace: An Update on Bill 168 from the Ministry of Labour. I needed some clarification on possible exemptions to the new violence and harassment prevention law and the application of certain measures in the bill.
The Ontario Occupational Health and safety Act violence and harassment prevention provisions (Bill 168) require employers to provide information, including personal information, about a person with a history of violent behaviour if:
Ontario employers take heed, the six-month transition period provided by the government before amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 168) come into force allow you time to prepare and be in compliance. This means implementing the new rules and measures required by law on or before June 15, 2010.
What do you do when an employee tells you she’s refusing to work because she fears she’ll suffer from an act of violence at the workplace? You might ask: can the worker even do that? With workplace violence and harassment legislation and regulation spreading across Canada, you might just need to know.
Following my December 14 blog post , the Ontario government gave royal assent to Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009, on December 15, 2009. As we stated…
Ontario Bill 168, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 finally passed third reading on December 9, 2009 and is awaiting royal assent to become law. The bill will come into force six months after it receives royal assent (which is expected sometime mid-2010), and will make a number of significant changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). New provisions will require employers to take precautions to prevent and protect workers from violence, harassment and domestic violence that could take place in the workplace. This means all employers will have to address the issue of violence and harassment prevention on both a human rights and a health and safety perspective.