Beginning January 1, 2021, all federally regulated workplaces will be subject to the Government of Canada’s violence and harassment regulations (Bill C-65: An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code), which will replace a portion of Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304). This mandates that employers take a more proactive and prescribed approach to preventing and resolving incidents of workplace harassment and violence. If you are a transportation company with day-to-day operations outside your home jurisdiction (i.e., interprovincial and international travel) these new rules will apply to you.
The new regulations coming into place will have a significant impact on employers’ responsibilities in matters of workplace health and safety. The new regulations are centered on the prevention of workplace harassment and violence, the response to workplace harassment and violence, and supporting victims of workplace violence and harassment.
In this document, we will explore what is considered workplace Harassment and Violence and briefly discuss employer responsibilities to prevent workplace harassment and violence.
Harassment and Violence—Clause 0.1 of the bill adds the following definition to the interpretation provision of Part II of the Code:
harassment and violence means any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment
In these Regulations, a reference to the “applicable partner” is to be read as a reference to the policy committee or, if there is no policy committee, as a reference to the workplace committee or the health and safety representative.
Prevention: Employer Responsibilities
Identify Risk Factors: An employer and the applicable partner must jointly identify the risk factors, internal and external to the work place, that contribute to harassment and violence in the work place, taking into account a number of factors such as organizational structure of the workplace, including the culture and conditions; the physical design of the workplace, external circumstances to the workplace, such as family violence, and more.
Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy: An employer and the applicable partner must jointly develop a work place harassment and violence prevention policy. The policy must contain up to 11 elements, including, an employer mission statement, description of risk factors, summary of the resolution process, the reasons in which a review might be conducted, and much more under section 10.
Workplace Assessment: An employer and the applicable partner must jointly carry out a work place assessment that consists of the identification of risk factors under section 8 and the development and implementation of preventive measures under section 9.