10/22/2009

Bill 168, the Occupational Health & Safety Amendment Act, requires employers with five employees or more to develop policies regarding workplace violence and harassment.
Issue:  

Bill 168, the Occupational Health & Safety Amendment Act (Violence & Harassment in the Workplace), was debated and passed second reading on October 20 by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  It has been deferred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

Background:

The Bill will require all employers in Ontario with five employees or more to develop policies regarding workplace violence and harassment in order to reduce their occurrence.

The Bill’s intention is to clarify the Occupational Health and Safety Act and to add more certainty to it, by mandating that employers take every reasonable precaution to protect a worker from health and safety issues in the workplace, including violence. The Ministry of Labour will provide employers with templates, guidelines and checklists that will assist them in understanding obligations and expectations with regards to policies and programs.

The Bill provides for the right of an employee to refuse work on the basis of workplace violence. It does however, limit this ability in the case of police, fire, corrections, ambulance, homes for the aged and health sectors, if there are inherent risks to the job, or, for example, if leaving a situation could put someone else in danger. The transit sector is not included in this limitation.

Action: 

AMO will monitor the progress of the Bill and notify members when it is brought to the Standing Committee on Social Policy, for those municipalities interested in submitting comment. AMO will make a formal submission to the Committee as well.