Federal MOL meets with stakeholders about mental health, workplace violence

Also discusses workers' 'right to disconnect'

Federal MOL meets with stakeholders about mental health, workplace violence
Bill C-65 harassment and violence regulations expected to be published 'in the coming months.'

Filomena Tassi, the federal minister of labour, was in Windsor, Ont. recently to meet with stakeholders and seek their input on several new policies being piloted relating to worker health.

“I very much like hearing the views of employers, unions and the public on challenges and issues in the area of labour policy that our government intends to move forward on,” said Tassi. “Governments around the world are beginning to think through these issues and we don’t want to be left behind.”

During the meeting with unions and employers, Tassi sought the stakeholders’ views on making mental health a core part of occupational health and safety policy and on how to better protect digital platform workers who often are not covered by basic labour standards.

The minister also asked about the stakeholders’ thoughts on the development of a “right to disconnect” for workers to let them enjoy genuine downtime while not at work without diminishing the positives that come from electronic communication.

On Feb. 14, Tassi toured Western University in London, Ont. where she learned more about two projects receiving funding through the government’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund.

One of these projects aims to create online tools and resources for vulnerable workers so that they have the means to report incidents of sexual harassment and violence as well as access to support resources. The other aims to ensure workers, unions and employers are able to respond effectively to issues of harassment and violence in the workplace, particularly on domestic violence. Both are aimed towards helping workplaces comply with Bill C-65, the Canada Labour Code amendments on violence and harassment.

According to the federal government, the final Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention regulations will be published in the coming months, and the legislation will come into force later this year.

“When we introduced Bill C-65, we knew that legislation is just one part of the best approach to workplace harassment and violence,” said Tassi. “That's why we made significant investments in projects like the ones underway at Western University that will help protect federally regulated employees from these unacceptable behaviours, because all Canadians deserve a workplace that is free from harassment and violence."