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Posted by on Jun 1, 2010 in Health & Safety, Human Resources, Legislation, Multitasking, Summer 2010 | 0 comments

Safer workplaces for women

HR Matters: Bill 168 Violence and Harassment in the Workplace

Safer workplaces for women

By Lynne Bard, Beyond Rewards

Statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Statistics Canada and W.S.I.B. directly identify the need for Ontario to address workplace violence and harassment issues (see complete article online for further statistics):

Organizations have identified an increase of 66% in aggressive acts within their workplaces over the past 5 years.

In 2004, 93% of sexual assault victims were female

70% of domestic violence victims are also abused at work at some point.

Women are at high risk of experiencing violence and harassment in the workplace because they are typically employed in high-risk occupations – teaching, nursing, banking, retail and social work.

Effective June 15, 2010, organizations in Ontario must have met the new guidelines and legal requirements as set out in the amendment to the Health and Safety Act in addition to their obligations under the existing legislation of the Human Rights Act. This legislative act will remain in force addressing a more victim-focused complaints process than the new occupational health and safety legislation.

This amendment now places an explicit duty on employers to protect employees from workplace violence and harassment and places a positive obligation to take precautionary measures should violence appear likely to occur within the workplace. All employers must have policies and procedures in place on workplace violence, including harassment and bullying.

Following are steps employers must take to meet compliance by the June 15th deadline:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment
  2. Make necessary changes to the workplace
  3. Develop and review policies with respect to workplace violence and harassment
  4. Develop and maintain programs to implement those policies
  5. Train employees

Both women and men will feel much safer at their place of work thanks to Bill 168.

Page 15, Summer 2010

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