Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (Nov. 2015)
The proposed Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, which the government of Ontario introduce as a Bill on October 27, 2015, includes a potential amendment to the provinces Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) regarding inappropriate behaviour in workplaces
A backgrounder from the Ontario Women’s Directorate says the law, if passed, will require OH essay to define workplace sexual harassment specifically, enhanced the requirements for workplace programs on harassment and give new duties to employers regarding protecting employees, such as proper investigation of all worker incidents and complaints.
“These legislative proposals would put the strength of the law behind our commitment to make communities, schools, and workplaces safer,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says in a statement upon the bill’s introduction. “That is an important part of our roadmap to and sexual violence and harassment in this province.”
The sexual violence and harassment action plan act is part of the government’s action plan against sexual violence and harassment, “Its Never Okay”, which has been ongoing since March.
The original sections of the OHSA, dealing with violence and harassment in the workplace, was finally introduced to the workplace in 2010. It was a necessary piece of legislation because the government of Ontario, in 2007, brought in a collection of stakeholders to discuss current issues in the workplace and violence and harassment was one of the seven issues that needed to be addressed.
I have to say that I was surprised that it only took three years to bring it to the workplace. Normally, the time between discussion and the unveiling of the new law usually takes much longer.
As the reader can see, there had to be a few updates to the original legislation because it was too vague to be of any use to the employer and the MOL had a difficult time enforcing something new without a database of information to draw from.
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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.