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New Workplace Harassment & Violence Requirements for Federal Workplaces (Part 1)

  • Image: Mad formal executive man yelling at camera, Andrea Piacquadio, courtesy Pexels

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, received Royal Assent on October 25, 2018.

Bill C-65 will be force on January 1, 2021. However, several requirements are prescribed by regulation.

On June 24, 2020, the federal government published the Work Place Harassment and Violence Regulations (Regulations).

The Regulations contain requirements for federally regulated employers. This is part of their obligations under the Canada Labour Code (CLC) harassment and violence prevention provisions.  So, federal employers will soon be more fully investigating, recording, reporting and taking measures to prevent workplace harassment and violence. It also includes providing certain training to their staff.  These requirements are summarized in this article and next week’s article.

Federally regulated employers and workers ought to review these provisions closely. Many nuances are included within them.    

“Harassment and violence” is a defined term. It means “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.”  This extends beyond sexual harassment and violence.

The Regulations require employers to take certain steps jointly with the “applicable partner.” The “applicable partner” is the policy committee, or if there is no such committee then the workplace committee or health and safety representative.  If there is no joint agreement on any required step, then the employer’s decision prevails. In that event, certain records must be kept.

The new requirements include:

Workplace assessment

An employer and the applicable partner must jointly assess the workplace, identify risk factors and implement preventive measures. They must identify certain factors. Within six months of identifying the risk factors, the employer and the applicable partner must jointly develop preventive measures satisfying the requirements, and develop and implement them.  Employers must also ensure those conducting these steps have the training, education or experience to do so.  

Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy

The employer and the applicable partner must jointly develop a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy. The policy must contain certain items. This includes a summary of the training to be provided, a summary of the resolution process, a summary of the emergency procedures to be implemented when there is immediate or threatened danger to an employee’s health and safety, how the employer will protect participants’ privacy, a description of the records available to those involved, the supports available to employees, and the name of the person designated to receive complaints made under s. 127.1(1) of the CLC.

Emergency Procedures

The employer and the applicable partner must jointly develop emergency procedures to be implemented if an immediate danger is posed or is threatened to an employee’s health and safety.  

The employer must make readily available to employees, in printed and electronic form, Part II of the CLC, the Regulations, a statement of the employer’s general policy concerning the health and safety at work of employees, and certain other information.  

Employers must also make the emergency procedures available to all employees. After implementing each of these procedures, the employer and the applicable partner must jointly review them and if necessary, update them. 

Next Week

Next week we will look at additional requirements including training, resolution processes and records and reporting requirements. 

This is a slightly modified version of an article that appeared in the Kelowna Capital News and other online publications on or about July 12, 2020. The content of this article is intended to provide very general thoughts and general information, not to provide legal advice. Advice from an experienced legal professional should be sought about your specific circumstances.  We may be reached through our website at