THE CARAVAN Volume 9, Issue 2, February 2010
Many of you know that one of my goals is to eliminate conflict and stress in peoples’ lives both at work and at home. Ontario has just passed a historical piece of legislation that will go a long way to eliminating violence and harassment in the workplace. Bill 168 amending the Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed into law on December 15, 2009 and all businesses in Ontario who have more than five workers must be in compliance with this new law by June 15, 2010.
There are three parts to this amendment; the first deals with violence in the workplace, the second deals with harassment in the workplace and the third deals with domestic violence and its affect on workers.
First, the Act requires an employer to conduct a workplace violence assessment. This means that all employees need to fill out a survey identifying any past or future risk of violence in the workplace. The employer needs to then set policies on how to deal with any violent incident or threat of violence in the workplace.
Second, the Act sets out a definition of workplace harassment as being engaged in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome (definitions, subsection 1) . This is important because the behaviour used to be brushed off with comments like “come on, you know Joe, that’s just the way he is, get over it.” Now it is actually against the law to ignore this behaviour and the target of the comment does not have to “get over it.” As a matter of fact, the target and any witnesses are obligated under the act to report the action to a supervisor without fear of reprisal.
The third section deals with domestic violence. When an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, of the domestic violence, that would likely expose a worker to physical injury and may occur in the workplace, the employer shall take every precaution reasonable, in the circumstances, for the protection of the worker.
Once the policy is formulated it is to be posted and each employee is to receive information and instruction on how to handle incidents of violence, harassment or domestic violence in the workplace.
So, listen up! The bad behaviour that many people have been turning a blind eye to in the workplaces of Ontario has now come to an end. It is time for the behaviour to stop. The consequences on the employer can be substantial. Fines can be levied up to $500,000 for a company or up to $50,000 for an individual.
It is not that difficult to comply and we at The Mouradian Group Inc. have put together a Bill 168 Compliance Package including a Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Program that meets all the requirements necessary to be in compliance with the Act. We have developed this package specifically for small businesses in order to help get them in compliance but every business will benefit from our services.
We believe this is an important piece of legislation and have made it our business to become the experts in workplace harassment and violence. To purchase our Bill 168 Compliance Package for your organization or if you have any questions call us now and we will be happy to serve you.
Here’s to conflict free workplaces in Ontario.
MOM’S TWO CENTS
By Jordin Williamson
HAPPY, HEALTHY LIVING ENVIRONMENT
With the new Bill 168 coming into play in the workplace we have to stop and think if we should amend our Living Environment Act. Wanting a happy, healthy working environment is something that we all demand of our employers but do we do enough to ensure we have that at home also?
Our family and friends deserve a happy, healthy living environment where we all feel safe. And I’m not just talking about physical violence but emotional stresses as well. Our children deserve a place where they feel they can turn to get love, support, validation and fun. They also need structure, guidance, and a place to learn about how to grow and develop into caring, successful adults.
If we can write an Act for the workplace and make amendments to it when necessary, then why would we not write one for our home life? We owe it to our children to make our home the best place to be. If you spend 8-10 hours a day in your workplace you should always look forward to coming home. If you don’t, then maybe your family’s Living Environment Act needs some amendments.
Call a family meeting. Ask all members for an assessment of their living conditions both physical and emotional. Draw up a Living Environment Act. Have everyone review it and sign it. Post it in a common place where everyone can recall it if necessary. Make amendments when necessary and be sure all changes are in the best interest of all family members.
Working safe, living safe and learning safe are all ways to make this world better for our children and us. And isn’t that what is really important in life!
Quote of the Month
Submitted by Brodi Mouradian
"Regulations are created to prevent and protect – not to cause you grief. Implement them for the good of the foundation and people who hold it up."