Bill 168 – Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
What is violence and harassment in the workplace?
Violence In the Workplace:
- The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker
- An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
- A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
Harassment In the Workplace:
- Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
What is the employer’s responsibility?
Employers must prepare a policy with respect to workplace violence, and develop and maintain a program to implement the policy. Employers must provide information and instruction to workers on the contents of these policies and programs.
The workplace violence program must include measures and procedures for:
- controlling risks identified in the assessment of risks;
- summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur; and
- workers to report incidents of workplace violence.
Workplace violence programs must also set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints of workplace violence.
Employers must proactively assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work. Measures and procedures to control these risks must be included in the workplace violence program. Employers must advise the Joint Health and Safety Committee or health and safety representative, if any, or workers, of the results of the assessment, and provide a written copy, if available.
Employers must prepare a policy with respect to workplace harassment, and develop and maintain a program to implement the policy. Employers must provide information and instruction to workers on the contents of the policy and program.
The workplace harassment program must include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace harassment and set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints.
These requirements help employers, supervisors and workers to recognize and deal with workplace harassment promptly, before it escalates into possible workplace violence.
Health and safety inspectors cannot investigate, resolve or mediate individual cases of workplace harassment or order an employer to deal with an in dividual case of workplace harassment.
What do you do if you feel that you are being harassed?
The Ministry of Labour enforces Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Ministry encourages internal workplace resolution of complaints. Where possible , workplace health and safety complaints should first be brought to the attention of the supervisor or employer, to the Joint Health and Safety Committee, if there is one, or to the health and safety representative if any.
If an employer is not complying with the workplace violence and workplace harassment requirements in the OHSA, workers should call the ministry’s province-wide Occupational Health and Safety Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-202-0008 to file a complaint. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous may do so. The ministry can visit the workplace to assess whether the employer has a workplace harassment and violence policy and program in place. For related information, please visit the Ministry of Labour’s webpage at ontario.ca/workplaceviolence.
The employer duty to notify the Ministry of Labour when a person is critically injured or killed in a workplace includes situations when the cause is workplace violence.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact the
Windsor Workers’ Education Centre.
328 Pelissier St. Windsor Ontario
WWEC is partially funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation