Ontario passes workplace violence legislation

Employers will have to protect workers from domestic violence, inform colleagues if a worker has a history of violence
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 07/23/2010

The Ontario legislature has passed changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that will protect workers from workplace violence.

Bill 168 received third and final reading on Dec. 9, with only minor changes.

The domestic violence provision remains unchanged as do the provisions requiring employers to provide workers with information related to a risk of workplace violence from people with a history of violent behaviour.

"These amendments are an important step forward for women in addressing workplace violence and harassment. They will make a difference in the lives of women and workers across Ontario," Minister Responsible for Women's Issues Laurel Broten.

The new protections will require employers to:

• Develop and communicate workplace violence and harassment prevention policies and programs to workers.

• Assess the risks of workplace violence, and take reasonable precautions to protect workers from possible domestic violence in the workplace.

• Allow workers to remove themselves from harmful situations if they have reason to believe that they are at risk of imminent danger due to workplace violence.

• Alert certain workers of the risk of workplace violence from persons with a history of violent behaviour.  Employers and supervisors must provide workers who may encounter such persons at work with as much information, including personal information, as needed to protect the workers from physical injury.

The amendments will come into force six months after it receives royal assent.

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