Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bill 168: Ontario Workplace Harassment and Violence Legislation In Force

Bill 168, an Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace, comes into force today.

Our previous report on the Bill's requirements is here.

As noted by Ogilvie Renault's Mary J. Gleason and Richard J. Charney in their paper, Bill 168 - countdown to compliance and the new obligations for Ontario employers:

What are the basic obligations for employers in respect of written policies for both workplace violence and workplace harassment?

The Bill 168 amendments to OHSA require employers to develop and maintain policies that address harassment, violence and threats of violence in the workplace. Such policies must be reviewed at least annually. In workplaces of more than five employees, the policies are to be written and posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace.

What should the workplace violence and harassment policy include?

Current legislation and regulations require the workplace violence policy to:

  • Provide a mechanism for workers to report incidents or threats of workplace violence to the employer or supervisor;
  • Provide a process for the investigation of incidents, complaints or threats of workplace violence;
  • Control the risks identified in the workplace violence assessment; and
  • Set out a procedure for contracting assistance when workplace violence occurs, may occur or when threats are made.

In the video below, two Ontario Ministry of Labour workplace safety inspectors describe the requirements of the new legislation:

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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