New Amendments to the OHSA
Bill 132 – otherwise known as the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act came into effect on September 8, 2016. This bill introduced changes to a number of statutes including the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Bill 132 builds on the Bill 168 amendments from 2010, and now the definition of “workplace harassment” includes “sexual harassment”.
A number of new obligations for employers have resulted from this updated definition. A few of them are listed below.
• A stricter requirement to provide a complaint policy that will not discourage employees from bringing issues forward
• A requirement to conduct an investigation in response to any and all incidents of workplace harassment. Note that Ministry of Labour inspectors now have the ability to order an employer to retain a third party investigator at its own expense. This will be done on a case by case basis, but is in place for situations when the Ministry may be concerned that an employer will not (or cannot) conduct an effective investigation
• A requirement to disclose the results of the investigation, to both the complainant and alleged harasser. Any corrective action that is being taken against the alleged harasser must be disclosed as well. This new requirement adds pressure to the employer to ensure that any investigation is done correctly
• A requirement that allows workers to report incidents of workplace harassment to a person other than the employer or supervisor, if the employer or supervisor is the alleged harasser
Because of these new requirements, it is very important that employers take steps to arrange the appropriate training for members of their HR team and provide all workers with information regarding the updates.
If you are interested in discussing this topic further or to learn more about the new requirements, please don’t hesitate to call our office today. HR Performance and Results can help clients and organizations in many different ways, including drafting policies, dealing with workplace violence, conducting investigations and facilitating training.
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