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 so many times before, the new measures are scheduled to come into force six months after royal assent to provide employers time to prepare and comply.
So the count down has started, employers have till June 15, 2010 (date to be confirmed by the government) to familiarize themselves with the new provisions, and to have a violence and harassment prevention plan and policy under Occupational Health and Safety legislation in place.
The Workplace violence and harassment prevention: A practical guide for employers published by First Reference (valued at $79.00) will assist all employers in any jurisdiction including Ontario in developing their health and safety violence and harassment prevention plan and policy.
You still have a chance to win a copy of the guide by sharing your thoughts with me on the implications of these new requirements on your business and what you are doing to prepare.
In the meantime, during the following six months, we are expecting draft regulations to clarify certain provisions in the Act and provide certain exemptions, as well as a possible consultation process on the language of the regulations. We will also be doing more research to enhance the guide and our other HR publications on issues of domestic violence and disclosure provisions among others to better help employers comply.
Thanks for providing your comments! Everyone who participated was sent a copy of Workplace violence and harassment prevention: A practical guide for employers. The contest closed on Wednesday December 23, 2009.
Bill 168 has been enacted as Chapter 23 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2009; the full text of the Act after Royal Assent can be viewed here
Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor
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Yosie Saint-Cyr says
Thank you all for your comments… Harprit, in upcoming blog posts, we will be dealing with various topics and issues related to the prevention of violence and harassment in the workplace. On January 11 and 12 we dealt with the issues of domestic violence and bullying. Adam is working on work refusal and I will be dealing with the privacy issue of disclosing an employee’s history of violence. Stay tuned!
I’m concerned that the obligation on employers to report to co-workers of an employee’s violent past (criminal record)if he/she is in danger might be one of the hardest challenges of this new law.
Anyone have recommendations on how to set this up in a policy without breaking privacy laws?
Alan Shefman says
While Bill 168 does extend certain responsibilities relating to an employer’s responsibilities regarding workplace violence, especially as it pertains to domestic violence, it also solidifies and provides guidance for the many organizations that have assumed liability for non-Human Rights based forms of harassment such as bullying. There has been a distinct trend over the last five years or so of companies including a bullying section within their corporate Harassment or Respectful Workplace Policies. This Act provides legislative support for their actions.
Yosie Saint-Cyr says
Sandy, Do you mean if the supervisor or employer representative is responsible or the cause of the violent or harassing behaviour?
what is the recommendation when the supervisor/employer does not recognize this fault in himself?
Yosie Saint-Cyr says
Please make sure to review your existing policy with health and safety in mind; looking at your workplace environment with existing or potential risks of violence and harassment, and in conjunction with the new OHS requirements. A lot of added specific requirements that did not exists before such as preventing domestic violence at work and disclosure obligations, among others… you have to indicate how you will deal with these issues in your policy.
I’m hoping that the policy we already have in place will cover much of this new Bill, but we’ll see!