The Automotive Industries Association of Canada has distributed an advisory that changes to Ontario’s workplace legislation places increased onus on employers to mitigae workplace violence. Bill 168, effective June 15th, 2010, applies to employers in Ontario with more than five regular employees. Employers with five or fewer employees, however, could be ordered by the Ministry of Labour to create and post policies, and to train staff. According to the AIA member advisory, violence in the workplace is defined by Bill 168 as: “A statement or behavior that is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat […]” “An attempt to exercice […]” or “The exercice of physical force by a person against a worker in a workplace that causes or could cause physical injury to a worker.
Harassment in the workplace is defined by Bill 168 as: “A course of vexatious comments or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”
The legislation will require employers to develop violence and harassment policies programs and an emergency response procedure in the event of a violent act. The employees will need to report incidents of harassment or violence and in turn, the employer will be required to develop incident investigation procedures if an incident, a complaint or threats of violence surface. The employer must also complete a risk assessment of violence hazards and has the duty to respond when aware of domestic violence that may expose a worker to physical injury in the workplace. These requirements will be effective as of June 15th, 2010. More information and training resources on AIA’s website, www.aiacanada.com.