Canada is known for its commitment to human rights and the protection of its citizens from various forms of harm, including harassment. The tort of harassment is a relatively recent development in Canadian jurisprudence, reflecting the evolving recognition of the harm caused by harassment in various contexts. Outside the tort of harassment, victims of harassment have utilized other claims for legal recourse, often relying on other torts like defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or negligence to seek redress. In recent years, several jurisdictions have recognized the tort of harassment, with different outcomes.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently affirmed the difference between aggravated and punitive damages in an employment law case.
As Ontario employers are aware, the Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out the obligations of employers when it comes to workplace safety. OHSA contains specific provisions which deal with how employers must deal with workplace violence and harassment, including a mandatory investigation provision for workplace harassment.