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BILL 168 RECEIVES THIRD READING: ADDRESSES WORKPLACE VIOLENCE AND
Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act
(Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009
A 2004 Statistics Canada survey found that 17 per cent of violent incidents in Canada occur in
the workplace. In response to these findings, and the Report of the Inquiry into the death of
nurse Lori Dupont released in December 2007, the Ministry of Labour held a public consultation
in the fall of 2008, to review the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA”) and assess
whether the Act’s existing provisions appropriately address issues of workplace violence.
As a result of that consultation process, the Government introduced Bill 168 on April 20, 2009.
The Bill passed third reading on December 9, 2009 and received Royal Assent on December 15,
2009. It will come into force on June 15, 2010 and makes significant changes to the OHSA.
Highlights of Bill 168
Preparation of Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies
Under the Bill, employers are required to prepare written policies with respect to workplace
violence and harassment. The policies need to be posted in a conspicuous location in the
workplace. Although small employers are generally exempt from this requirement, an Inspector
can make an order that even an employer with five or fewer employees prepare and post a policy.
In addition, employers will be required to review the policies “as often as is necessary,” but at
The terms “workplace violence” and “workplace harassment” are broadly defined in the
proposed legislation. “Workplace violence” is defined in the Bill as:
the exercise of physical force by a person against a work