On September 8, 2016 Bill 132, an update to Ontario’s sexual violence and harassment legislation becomes law. Bill 132 amended the current workplace violence and harassment legislation (section 32 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act) to include workplace sexual harassment as well as additional provisions requiring employers to implement specific workplace harassment policies and programs that will ensure all complaints are properly investigated.
The definition of “workplace harassment” has been expanded to include “workplace sexual harassment” which is defined as:
- Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or
- Making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.
An employer’s workplace violence and harassment policy and program must also include, among other requirements, measures and procedures to report incidents of workplace harassment to a person other than the employer or supervisor, if the employer or supervisor is the alleged harasser. Specific provisions on how incidents or complaints will be investigated and dealt with, as well as informing parties on the investigation results and corrective action must be detailed in the employer’s program. All complaints and incidents must be investigated and documented in writing. It is also imperative that employers detail the importance of maintaining confidentiality when dealing with workplace violence and harassment matters.
The above are only some of the requirements for an employer. For more details on workplace violence and harassment requirements, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website at: https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/topics/workplaceviolence.php
Our team of professional health and safety consultants can provide guidance, assist in the development of your program, complete a risk assessment and conduct workplace training to ensure you meet your requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Call us today at 905-669-5444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you!