The new regulations on workplace harassment and violence under Bill C-65 came into effect on January 1, 2021. Bill C-65 amended provisions in the Canada Labour Code (CLC) on workplace harassment and violence. It received royal assent in October 2018.
All federally regulated employers are now obligated to investigate, record, report, prevent and provide training on addressing workplace harassment and violence.
How does Bill C-65 define harassment and violence?
Bill C-65 defines harassment and violence as any action, conduct, or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment.
What prevention and protection measures came into force with Bill C-65?
The regulations set down the framework for a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy. They also lay down investigation and resolution procedures in case of an incident of harassment and violence in the workplace. Employer obligations now include:
Carrying out a workplace assessment
The employer must conduct the assessment with an applicable partner (such as a workplace committee or health and safety representative). The goal is to identify risk factors and preventive measures. The individuals involved must have the necessary training, education, or experience.
Developing a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy
The employer must jointly develop the policy with an applicable partner. The policy must include:
- Details about the roles of the different parties involved in addressing and resolving an occurrence.
- A description of the risk factors that contribute to workplace harassment and violence
- A summary of the training developed
- A summary of the resolution process
- Information on how the employer will protect the privacy of persons involved
Developing and providing violence and harassment training
The employer, employees and designated recipient must receive the training. It must be specific to the culture, conditions, and activities of the workplace.
Reviewing and updating procedures
The workplace assessment, policy and training must be jointly reviewed, and updated if needed, at least once every three years.
Providing support measures
Employers must provide employees information about available medical, psychological, or other support services.
Establishing a process for dealing with incidents
Bill C-65 also sets down the procedures for resolution of an incident of harassment and violence in the workplace. This includes negotiated resolution, conciliation, and investigation.
Selecting a qualified and unbiased investigator
The investigator selected must be trained in investigative techniques. They must have knowledge, training and experience relevant to harassment and violence in the workplace. They must also have knowledge of the CLC, the CHRA, and any other relevant legislation.
Implementing all recommendations
The employer and the applicable partner must jointly decide which recommendations from the investigator’s report are to be implemented. The employer is obligated to put into effect all selected recommendations.
Resolving the issue within the set time limit
The employer must ensure the resolution process is completed within one year after the day the notice of the occurrence was provided.
What are the penalties for violating the new regulations?
Employers who fail to follow the new standards could be fined up to $250,000.