Workplace Violence and Harassment in Ontario

Workplace violence can include anything from physical attacks to assaults, from written threats to bullying and harassment. Violence is the act or attempt to cause injury or abuse, maybe physical or psychological and can occur at business related functions or social events. Work related violence is not restricted to the traditional workplace.

According to the International Labour Organization study Canada has one of the highest rates of assault and sexual harassment on the job. Poor lighting and obstacles isolate workers making them vulnerable to attacks because the design and layout of a workplace can also influence the risk of violence. There is a link between stress and the workplace as job demand increase, downsizing of staff and hiring of new employees occur creating tension amongst workers.

Some known factors increasing the violence at work are working with the public, handling money, taking prescription drugs, carrying out enforcement or inspection duties or where alcohol is being served. All workers are at risk from workplace violence, but workers who work with the public are at greater risk of physical assault. Victims of workplace violence can suffer both physically and psychological trauma which can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders to overall stress. Workers exposed to this type of violence can have difficulty returning to work or performing duties at work and may affect their state outside of the workplace.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act Section 32 the employer must have the follwoing in place:

  1. Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy
  2. Workplace Violence and Harassment Program
  3. Risk Assessment
  4. Awareness Training for all Employee’s

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