August 13, 2020

Occupational health and safety statutes across Canada require employers to take steps to prevent workplace violence. These steps generally include assessing the risk of workplace violence that may arise and developing policies and procedures to eliminate or minimize the risk. Effectively responding to specific concerns that an individual may become violent is also vital to maintaining a safe workplace. In this session, experts will explore legal obligations related to workplace violence, discuss best practices for prevention, and provide guidance on assessing the risk of workplace violence generally and on threat assessment (i.e. assessing the risk that a particular individual may engage in violence).

  • How is violence defined in occupational health and safety legislation across Canada? Is violence limited to actions that cause physical harm to a person, or does it include threats or verbal abuse? What about damage to property?
  • What are the essential components of workplace violence policies? What must be done to ensure that such policies are effectively implemented, reviewed, and improved? What role do worker representatives, unions, and joint health and safety committees play in the development, implementation, and operation of workplace violence policies?
  • What must be done in order to ensure a thorough assessment of the risk of violence occurring in a particular workplace? How should workplace parties assess the general risk of workplace violence being perpetrated by customers, clients, patients, or other third parties?
  • What procedures should be put in place for reporting concerns that workplace violence may occur? What standards should be set to ensure that responses to such concerns are adequate?
  • What role does threat assessment play in responding to concerns that a specific individual may engage in violent behaviour in the workplace? What specialized expertise, if any, is required to conduct threat assessments?
  • What human rights and privacy concerns might be raised by threat assessment policies or practices? How should the concerns be addressed?
  • What role might a threat assessment conducted by an expert play in determining the appropriate disciplinary response to an employee who has uttered threats or engaged in workplace violence?