As of June 15, 2010 Bill 168 regarding Workplace Violence and Harassment takes effect. This legislation amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) for all employers. The Ontario Ministry of Labour has developed a fact sheet to assist employers with understanding this legislation. Compliance with this amendment should not be onerous, and the Diocesan Human Resources department has created resources to assist parishes with their implementation.
Parishes with five (5) or less employees are not required to have written policies but must have completed a risk/hazard assessment, and ensure that employees are aware of possible risks and how to report and respond to a situation regarding violence or harassment in the workplace.
Parishes with six (6) or more employees will be required to complete a risk/hazard assessment and have two policies; one regarding harassment in the workplace, and the second regarding violence in the workplace. Parishes must ensure that employees are trained regarding the policy, procedures, and how to report and respond to a situation regarding violence or harassment in the workplace.
Complete a Risk Assessment. The risk assessment needs to assess risk that may arise from the nature of the workplace, type of work, and conditions of work. A template has been designed that will assist you with this assessment. This is a survey, and therefore not all employees need to complete the assessment. The completed assessments must be kept as they may be requested by the ministry of labour at a future date.
Prepare or adapt existing written policies regarding Workplace Harassment, and Workplace Violence. Templates for these two policies have also been designed to assist your parish:
You may want to adapt these templates for your specific situations as discovered during the risk assessment. Once completed, these policies must be posted in a conspicuous place in the parish (workplace). Review the policies at least once a year or as often as necessary. These templates include procedures, a prevention program, and deals with domestic violence.
The amendments require that any individuals with a violent history need to be identified if (a) the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of his or her work; AND (b) the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury. Due to confidentiality, only the amount of information reasonably necessary is offered to protect the worker. You may need to create a threat assessment team and criteria to determine when a person is to be designated as having a history of violence.
Train workers on the Policy and Procedures as required. Training as required should also include violence /harassment prevention strategies including complaint resolution and prevention strategies. The templates provided should offer you the resources you require to comply with the OHSA amendments under Bill 168. Additional websites that will assist you to meet these requirements can be found at:
- The Ministry of Labour Guideline – Workplace Violence and Harassment: Understanding the Law
- Occupational Health and Safety Council of Ontario – Toolkits
For more information, please contact the Rev. Richard Dentinger, Director of Human Resources, 416-363-6021 ext. 232 (1-800-668-8932).