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Health and Safety: Making It Work

Planning Ahead: Developing a comprehensive program to deal with psychological risks in your workplace

This workshop focuses on practical strategies to fix poisoned workplaces and protect workers' mental health. Participants will begin by examining, with the assistance of experts, the legal obligations with which the parties must now comply, the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, and the key elements of policies and best practices for preventing and reducing the incidence of physical and psychological harm in the workplace. Participants will also explore in detail, under the guidance of workshop leaders, the approaches which employers and unions can take to remedy these problems. This discussion will address a number of questions, including the following:

  • Legal obligations to prevent psychological harm in the workplace: What legal obligations, policies, or standards exist in Ontario requiring employers to ensure a psychologically safe work environment? What obligations does Ontario's OHSA (Bill 168) impose on employers to protect employees from psychological and physical risks arising from violence and harassment? What obligations exist under human rights legislation?
  • The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace: What is The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and what is its status (e.g. is it a legal document, a best-practice policy, etc.)? What role does the Standard play in the legal obligations of employers and unions to secure a psychologically healthy and safe workplace? What are the key elements of the Standard? What steps does it require organizations to take to ensure a psychologically safe workplace?
  • Identifying Hazards: What is the employer's obligation to identify psychological risks in the workplace, including conducting assessments of workplace hazards and workplace risks to psychological safety? What are common hazards to psychological safety in the workplace? How can employers and unions work together to identify risks to psychological safety? How can managers and union representatives work together to identify and reduce workplace situations which can cause psychological harm, whether arising from incidents of harassment, violence, or bullying, or from other stressful conditions in the workplace?
  • Planning and Prevention – minimizing hazards and liability: What can employers do to reduce/eliminate psychosocial hazards in the workplace and to lessen their potential legal liability? What can unions do to reduce psychological health and safety hazards in the workplace? What policies, practices, and programs might be implemented to support and promote a psychologically safe workplace, which is free from harassment and discrimination? How can the union and the employer work together to develop anti-harassment/bullying policies and programs to ensure a psychologically safe workplace? Are joint strategies effective? What are some examples of effective psychological health and safety policies? Do employers have a legal duty to ensure that the way they manage the workplace does not itself cause employees undue stress or psychological injury? What does this obligation entail?
  • Rehabilitation – remedying a poisoned work environment: What is a "poisoned" or "toxic" work environment? What distinguishes a workplace in which some harassment has taken place or some psychologically harmful conduct has occurred, and one which rises to the level of a "poisoned" work environment? What steps should employers take to repair a poisoned workplace? How can managers and union representatives work together to remedy psychologically harmful conditions such as harassment, bullying, violence, or other stressors? What practical steps can employers and unions take to stop workplace bullying and harassment? What is the union's role? How can unions balance competing interests in cases involving member-on-member violence or harassment? What should employers do to ensure that employees adversely affected by harassment/discrimination are reintegrated successfully into the workplace? When, if ever, is it appropriate to keep harassers in the workplace? What can be done to ensure that such employees do not continue to poison the workplace? What types of education and training are useful to remedy a poisoned work environment?



E-mail Christine Winiker or call (416) 977-6618 for more information. We can help to tailor a Customized Training package for you.

Additional Information

Includes materials, with case summaries and analyses, prepared by Lancaster's legal staff.