Workers Health & Safety Centre

Prioritizing a violence- and harassment-free workplace

The cost of inaction? For one Ontario employer, a recent $170,000 fine following a worker’s murder. For the dead worker and all who cared about her, the price paid? Incalculable.
Why after persistent union-led lobby, Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) was amended by Bill 168 in 2010 and Canada’s Labour Code protections for violence and harassment were improved upon just last year. Every worker has the right to a safe workplace free from violence and harassment. Employers are required to develop and implement workplace violence and harassment policies and programs. These must be current and reviewed annually. As well, employers have an obligation to provide all workers with information about their policies and training on programs implemented.
On July 24, 2020, Karen Gottschalk-Millar, 63, a residential counsellor at Pathways to Independence in Kemptville and member of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Local 448, was working the overnight shift alone when she was seriously injured and subsequently killed. Karen, a mother and grandmother, is also remembered as a “skilled, strong and compassionate” counsellor. An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development concluded the employer failed to reassess the risk of workplace violence and as such breached their duties under OHSA. Hence the $170,000 fine.

Training for compliance and worker safety

Is your workplace fully compliant? Many are not!

To help workplaces comply with OHSA legislation outlined in Bill 168 and safeguard workers, Workers Health and Safety Centre, Ontario’s only government designated training centre, offers a Workplace Violence and Harassment Program. This three-hour virtual training program covers essentials for those creating a new workplace-specific program and policy or evaluating an existing workplace violence program.
A policy is required regardless of workplace size and must be clearly posted in a workplace with six or more employees. Workplace violence includes acts that would constitute offences under Canada’s Criminal Code. Workplace harassment includes types of harassment prohibited under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
WHAT: Workplace Violence and Harassment – Virtual 
WHERE: Online, virtual classroom
WHEN: Wednesday, April 27 | 9:00AM-12:00PM
Tuesday, May 10 | 1:00PM-4:00PM
COST: $75.00

Registration closes two weeks before each training date.

About our Workplace Violence and Harassment program

Participants will:
  • review the definition of workplace violence and harassment and discuss risk factors associated with each
  • evaluate tools necessary to identify and assess workplace violence hazards in order to implement effective control measures
  • develop the knowledge necessary to help fulfill OHSA's requirements including developing and posting written policies with respect to workplace violence, conducting a risk assessment, developing a workplace violence and harassment program and training workers regarding the specific workplace policies and programs
  • learn about the employer's duty to observe for evidence of domestic violence and to provide information about "a person with a history of violent behaviour".

Additional resources:
Employer compliance checklist
Worker checklist
Workplace Harassment: from investigation to prevention
Workplace Violence: predictable and preventable
Domestic Violence in the Workplace: breaking the silence
Working Alone
Need more information?
Contact a WHSC training services representative in your area.
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