Saskatchewan's new harassment rules to take effect

Legislation expands definition to include contractors, students and volunteers

Saskatchewan's new harassment rules to take effect

The expanded version of Saskatchewan’s rules around workplace harassment is set to take effect.

By Jan. 1, 2022, independent contractors, students and volunteers will be included in the definition of workers protected from any form of harassment under the Saskatchewan Employment Amendment Act, 2021.

Introduced last month, the expanded act also clarifies that any unwelcome action of a sexual nature constitutes harassment.

"This legislation will ensure that contract workers, students and volunteers can go to their jobs without concerns about being exposed to harassment," says Don Morgan, minister of labour relations and workplace safety. "We want to protect all workers from harassment and create safe, healthy workplaces."

Canada-wide legislation

With the passing of the act, Saskatchewan became one of five jurisdictions to specifically reference sexual harassment in legislation.

The support comes more than two years after New Brunswick passed legislation to protect workers from violence and harassment by requiring all employers to develop and implement a written code of practice.

In late 2020, Yukon gave royal assent to Bill No. 10 to provide access to paid and unpaid leave for victims of domestic and sexualized violence.

Manitoba and British Columbia also introduced legislation around domestic and interpersonal violence.

New regulations around workplace harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces took effect at the start of the year.

Labour relations changes

Under Saskatchewan’s new policy, the Labour Relations Board is no longer required to exclude supervisory employees from the same bargaining unit as those they supervise unless the employer and union have entered an irrevocable election.

Instead, the board will be given authority to determine the appropriate bargaining unit, which may include a unit composed only of supervisors.

The board has also been authorized to hear applications from employers or unions to amend existing certification orders which exclude supervisors from the bargaining units.

The new Saskatchewan act also provides protection for public and private sector employers that comply with the new COVID-19 vaccination regulations. These specific rules provide employees with the choice of showing evidence of being fully vaccinated or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test at least every seven days.

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