On April 20, 2009, Bill 168, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009, passed first reading at the Ontario Legislature. The Bill aims to provide increased worker protection by requiring employers to develop and implement policies which address, and seek to prevent, workplace violence and workplace harassment. Among the features of the Bill are the following:
Employer Assessment of Risk and Policy Development
Under the amendments proposed through the Bill, employers will be required to assess the risks of workplace violence by considering the nature of the workplace, the type of work and the conditions of work, and to report the results of the assessment to the joint health and safety committee or to a health and safety representative. Employers would then be required to develop and implement policies which would, in particular, address:
Extension of Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
Under section 43 of the OHSA, workers have the right to refuse work that is likely to endanger themselves or other workers. If passed, Bill 168 would extend workers’ rights to refuse unsafe work to include situations where workplace violence is likely to endanger the worker.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Under Bill 168 employers would have to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers where the employer becomes aware of any situation where domestic violence is likely to expose workers to physical injury at work.
Mandatory Disclosure of Violent History
Employers and supervisors would have a duty to disclose to workers the personal information related to the risk of workplace violence from a person with a history of violent behaviour where the following criteria are met:
(a) the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of his or her work; and
(b) the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury.
To see the full-text of the proposed Bill, please visit:
To access the Consultation Paper on Workplace Violence Prevention, please visit: