Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A company that provided security services for Oshawa City Hall has been fined $70,000 for failing to comply with orders to develop workplace harassment and violence prevention programs for its workers.
By provincial law, employers must put in place policies on workplace harassment and violence and train their workers about these policies. The shortcomings came to light when a Ministry of Labour inspector conducted an inspection following an injury suffered by an employee of Federal Force Protection Agency (FFPA) in October 2014 at the city hall building located at 50 Centre Street South in Oshawa.
The inspector issued 10 orders to FFPA to comply and followed up with three phone calls, as a number of orders became past due. In March 2015 the inspector attended the workplace to verify the status of the orders, and issued a notice of non-compliance as seven of the 10 orders had not been complied with.
The orders required the employer to assess the risks of workplace violence, prepare a policy and develop, maintain and implement a program to deal with it; information and training of workers about the policy and program must also be provided. The same requirements were ordered for workplace harassment.
On February 6, 2017, Justice of the Peace Gerald Ryan agreed that the company had failed to comply with orders issued by a Ministry of Labour inspector and fined the company $10,000 for each count of non-compliance,totaling $70,000. The hearing was conducted “ex parte.” An ex parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the dispute to be present.
The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The law(s) in contravention,
Federal Force Protection Agency (FFPA) was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act,(OHSA)
Section 32.0.1(1)(a)(b) which states,
“An employer shall,
(a) prepare a policy with respect to workplace violence;
(b) prepare a policy with respect to workplace harassment.”
Section 32.0.2(1) which states
“An employer shall develop and maintain a program to implement the policy with respect to workplace violence required under clause 32.0.1.”
Section 32.0.3(1) which states,
“An employer shall assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work.”
Section 32.0.5(2)(a) which states,
“An employer shall provide a worker with,
(a) information and instruction that is appropriate for the worker on the contents of the policy and program with respect to workplace violence.”
Section 32.0.6(1) which states,
“An employer shall, in consultation with the committee or a health and safety representative, if any,develop and maintain a written program to implement the policy with respect to workplace harassment required under clause 32.0.1 (1) (b);” and
Section 32.0.7 which states,
“(1) To protect a worker from workplace harassment, an employer shall ensure that,
(a) an investigation is conducted into incidents and complaints of workplace harassment that is appropriate in the circumstances;
(b) the worker who has allegedly experienced workplace harassment and the alleged harasser, if he or she is a worker of the employer,are informed in writing of the results of the investigation and of any corrective action that has been taken or that will be taken as a result of the investigation;
(c) the program developed under section 32.0.6 is reviewed as often as necessary, but at least annually, to ensure that it adequately implements the policy with respect to workplace harassment required under clause 32.0.1 (1) (b); and
(d) such other duties as may be prescribed are carried out. 2016, c. 2, and
“(2) The results of an investigation under clause (1) (a), and any report created in the course of or for the purposes of the investigation, are not a report respecting occupational health and safety for the purposes of subsection 25 (2).”
We have known about the violence and harassment legislation since June/July of 2010. A group of stakeholders got together in 2007 and found that violence and harassment was something that reached the top 10 of the suggestions for changes to legislation and 32.0.1 to 32.0.8 were enacted in the OHSA in July 2010.
As the reader can see, Federal Force Protection Agency (FFPA) was given a lot of time to get their policies and procedures in order.
My only problem with all this is WHY did they wait so long? A company such as HRS Group Inc. could be brought in to build the program, train the employees and help management monitor and update the program. Very simple! I know it would have been much cheaper than the $70,000 fine.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
– Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.