This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 168 and does not form part of the law. Bill 168 has been enacted as Chapter 23 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2009.
The Bill adds Part III.0.1 (Violence and Harassment) to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Subsection 1 (1) of the Act is amended to include definitions of workplace violence and workplace harassment.
Section 32.0.1 of the Act requires an employer to prepare policies with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment, and to review the policies at least annually.
Section 32.0.2 of the Act requires an employer to develop a program to implement the workplace violence policy. The program must include measures to control risks of workplace violence identified in the risk assessment that is required under section 32.0.3, to summon immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs, and for workers to report incidents of workplace violence. The program must also set out how the employer will deal with incidents and complaints of workplace violence.
Section 32.0.3 of the Act requires an employer to assess the risks of workplace violence and to report the results of the assessment to the joint health and safety committee or to a health and safety representative. If there is no committee or representative, the results must be reported to the workers. The risks must be reassessed as often as is necessary to protect workers from workplace violence.
Under section 32.0.4 of the Act, if an employer is aware or ought to be aware that domestic violence that is likely to expose a worker to physical injury may occur in the workplace, the employer must take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker.
Section 32.0.5 of the Act clarifies that the employer duties in section 25, the supervisor duties in section 27 and the worker duties in section 28 apply, as appropriate, with respect to workplace violence. Section 32.0.5 also requires an employer to provide a worker with information and instruction on the contents of the workplace violence policy and program.
Section 32.0.6 of the Act requires an employer to develop a program to implement the workplace harassment policy. The program must include measures for workers to report incidents of workplace harassment and set out how the employer will deal with incidents and complaints of workplace harassment. Section 32.0.7 requires an employer to provide a worker with information and instruction on the contents of the workplace harassment policy and program.
The Bill amends section 43 of the Act, which deals with a worker’s right to refuse work in various circumstances where health or safety is in danger, to include the right to refuse work if workplace violence is likely to endanger the worker.
The Bill adds sections 55.1 and 55.2 to the Act, authorizing inspectors to make orders requiring policies under section 32.0.1 and assessments and reassessments under section 32.0.3 to be in writing or to be posted in the workplace.
The Bill provides for authority to make regulations, including the following:
1. Requiring an employer to designate a workplace co-ordinator with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment.
2. In the case of workers with a limited right to refuse work under section 43 of the Act, specifying situations in which a danger to health or safety is inherent in the workers’ work or a normal condition of employment.
3. Varying or supplementing subsections 43 (4) to (13) of the Act with respect to workers with a limited right to refuse under section 43 and workers to whom section 43 applies by reason of a regulation made for the purposes of subsection 3 (3) of the Act.
4. Governing the application of the duties and rights set out in Part III.0.1 to the taxi industry.