Ontario announces legislation to tackle workplace violence

Violence and harassment have no place in the workplace. That’s the message Ontario is sending by introducing legislative amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that would, if passed, help protect workers from workplace violence and harassment.

The proposed legislation (bill 168) would, if passed:
  • Require employers to develop a framework that would include policies and programs to help prevent workplace violence and harassment
  • Require employers to take reasonable precautions to protect an employee from domestic violence in the workplace
  • Allow workers to remove themselves from harmful situations if they have reason to believe that they are at risk of imminent danger due to workplace violence

“If passed, this legislation would help create a climate in workplaces across the province that says that workplace violence is completely unacceptable,” says Peter Fonseca, Minister of Labour.

Ontario is also launching specific measures to tackle workplace violence in the health sector. Two newly appointed Healthy Work Environments Champions will work to build a culture of workplace safety in health care settings across the province. The champions are:

  • Rob Devitt, president and CEO of Toronto East General Hospital,
  • Dr. Heather Laschinger, distinguished university professor and associate director nursing research at The University of Western Ontario, School of Nursing.
 “Our champions will help us implement the ministry’s ongoing strategy to make healthcare settings safe for nurses, physicians, and all who work in the healthcare sector in Ontario,” says  David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long Term Care.

The proposed legislative amendments would enhance the province’s existing Safe At Work Ontario Strategy.
To view bill 168, click here.