Ontario's recently enacted workplace violence amendment places a legal onus on provincially regulated employers to safeguard employees from the risk of domestic violence in the workplace. Additional jurisdictions are likely to follow suit. In legal terms, domestic violence is increasingly becoming a foreseeable workplace risk. In moral terms, inaction on this growing workplace issue would introduce unacceptable human risk.
A recent labour arbitrator’s decision—to uphold the City of Kingston’s right to terminate a 28-year employee for issuing a verbal threat against a co-worker—was based in large part on the arbitrator’s view that "the classification of threatening language as workplace violence" under the Occupational Health and Safety Act represents a "clear and significant change" to the law in Ontario.
Established in 1995, First Reference Inc. (known as La Référence in Quebec) provides Canadian organizations of any size with practical and authoritative resources to help ensure compliance.