The provincial government’s Bill 168, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace), 2009, is in force as of June 2010, with immediate impact on Ontario’s workplaces. In this audio conference, Lancaster’s panel of experts will provide an overview and assessment of how this legislation has been implemented in workplaces and what lessons can be taken from the early experiences of employers and employees in dealing with harassment and violence under this new regime. Topics to be discussed include:
- New Obligations:What new duties do employees and employers have, with respect to violence and harassment, under Ontario’s health and safety legislation? Does Bill 168 affect staffing levels set by the employer?
- Implementation:What challenges have employers experienced in implementing Bill 168 and what lessons should be taken from these experiences? What are some examples of innovative and proactive ways that employers have prepared their workplaces to comply with the new legislation?
- Enforcement:What enforcement procedures are contained in the Act respecting violence and harassment? Do the amendments create any new remedies? What approach is the Ministry of Labour taking to enforcement? Is the focus more likely to be collaborative – working with high-risk businesses/organizations, asking to see policies and providing guidance – or punitive?
- Human Rights Issues:When can a worker who is harassed take action under both human rights and occupational health and safety legislation? Where both systems are used, is it likely that both processes will proceed at the same time? How well does the new legislation balance employee safety and privacy concerns?
- Domestic Violence:How are the domestic violence obligations under the Act being applied? What level of knowledge must an employer have in order to be responsible for protecting an employee from domestic violence? Does the employer have an obligation to do a risk assessment of domestic violence? What information is an employer entitled to request? What should an employer do if the employee refuses to provide information? Are other employees required to report knowledge of domestic violence to their employer?