Ontario targets workplace violence

Government introduces OH&S amendments and appoints two leaders to push for workplace safety in health care sector
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 04/22/2009

The Ontario government is giving notice that violence and harassment have no place in the workplace and won’t be tolerated, particularly in the health care sector.

The main thrust of its focus is in new legislative amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that would, if passed, help protect workers from workplace violence and harassment.

The proposed legislation would:

•Require employers to develop a framework that would include policies and programs to help prevent workplace violence and harassment.
•Require employers to take reasonable precautions to protect an employee from domestic violence in the workplace.
•Allow workers to remove themselves from harmful situation if they have reason to believe that they are at risk of imminent danger due to workplace violence.

"If passed, this legislation would help create a climate in workplaces across the province that says workplace violence is completely unacceptable," said Peter Fonseca, Ontario Minister of Labour.

The government is also launching specific measures to tackle workplace violence in the health sector. It has appointed Healthy Work Environments Champions, whose purpose will be to build a culture of workplace safety in health care settings across Ontario. The Champions are Rob Devitt, President and CEO of Toronto East General Hospital and Dr. Heather Laschinger, Distinguished University Professor and Associate Director, Nursing Research at The University of Western Ontario, School of Nursing.

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