Workers Health & Safety Centre

OFL conference to offer critical insights into new violence and harassment law

OFL conference to offer critical insights into new violence and harassment law
Participants to an upcoming Ontario Federation of Labour conference will learn much about new laws, codes and strategies designed to prevent workplace violence and harassment.
A recently updated conference agenda reveals the day will be packed with the kind of information worker activists will need to begin important workplace discussions around meeting and better yet exceeding new provisions in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that now extend existing provisions targeted at workplace violence and harassment. To this end, conference organizers are encouraging local union leaders, health and safety activists, plus women and equity activists to attend.
What OFL Violence & Harassment in the Workplace Conference
When Thursday, October 6, 2016, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where Toronto — OFL Building

Presentations and Panel Discussions

Susan Ursel, a senior partner with Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP will take participants through “A practical guide to what has changed [in OHSA]”. Further she will lead a talk entitled, “Where human rights intersect with OHSA.” Findings from a joint project on workers and domestic violence undertaken by the Canadian Labour Congress and Western University will also be shared. Finally, a panel of union representatives will discuss the many strategies, initiatives and challenges they have experienced in their drive to safeguard members from workplace violence and harassment.

Legislative Changes

In March, 2016, Ontario enacted Bill 132 — Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act which amended six existing laws, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act). As such the Act now requires specific employer duties with regard to workplace sexual harassment. The following are a few examples:
  • developing and maintaining a written program to implement the sexual harassment policy in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or representative,
  • investigating and dealing with incidents or complaints of workplace harassment, and>
  • setting up procedures and measures for workers to report incidents to someone other than their supervisor or employer, if those persons are the alleged harasser.

The amendments to the Act will also give a Ministry of Labour health and safety inspector new powers to order sexual harassment investigations, at the expense of the employer, by an impartial, qualified person.
Bill 132 came into force on September 8, 2016. At the same time a Code of Practice aimed at helping to implement workplace harassment policies and programs also came into force.
For our part, staff and leadership of the Workers Health and Safety Centre will participate in the conference. At our designated display booth we will feature several recently updated and expanded training and information resources to help worker activists play their part in ensuring their workplace benefits from effective workplace violence and harassment prevention programs.
Want to register for the OFL Conference?
Want to learn more about WHSC workplace violence and harassment prevention training or other resources:
Call:    1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a WHSC training services representative.