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New Workplace Harassment & Violence Requirements for Federal Workplaces (Part 2)

Last week we began looking at the recently published federal Work Place Harassment and Violence Regulations (Regulations).  

The Regulations contain requirements on federally regulated employers to comply with their obligations under the Canada Labour Code (CLC) harassment and violence prevention provisions.  This includes requirements to investigate, record, report and take measures to prevent workplace harassment and violence. Employers will also be required to provide certain training to their staff.  

Last week we looked at the requirement on federally regulated employers to take certain steps jointly with the applicable partner.  We also looked at workplace assessments, policy requirements and emergency procedures.  This week we look at the additional requirements summarized below.

Training – The employer and the applicable partner must jointly develop or identify the training to be provided to employees, the employer and the person or unit designated by the employer to receive notices of occurrences of harassment and violence in the work place. The training must reflect certain specified aspects of the workplace and must include certain items.  The employer must ensure that training occurs within three months of employment, for existing employees before January 1, 2022, at least every three years after that, and following certain other events.

Resolution Process – The employer must designate a person or work unit to receive notices of an occurrence of harassment and violence in the work place.  The employer must provide certain information to the party who is the object of the occurrence (the “principal party”) and the responding party, including how to access the policy, the steps in the resolution process and that they may be represented.  The parties must make every reasonable effort to resolve the matter, with or without a conciliator. 

Employers and certain others must make every reasonable effort to resolve occurrences of which notice is given.  Those efforts must commence within 45 days of when the notice is provided. “Resolve” includes the employer determining that the notice does not describes an action, conduct or comment that constitutes “harassment and violence” as defined in the CLC.

If the matter is not resolved and the principal party requests it, an investigation must take place.  If the matter is resolved before the investigator has provided the report, then the investigation must be discontinued.  Investigators must meet certain requirements in the Regulations before they can be engaged. Investigation reports must not reveal the identity of those involved. A copy of the investigation report must be provided to the parties, the work place committee or health and safety representative and in certain cases to certain others.

Records and Reports  

The employer must maintain certain records, including the policy, the assessment and reviews and updates to it, a record of the employer’s decision and its reasons where joint agreement was not reached on a matter required by the Regulations to be carried out jointly, each action taken in response to a notice, each instigation reports, each annual report and each fatality report.  Annual reports containing certain information must be provided on or before March 1 each year to the federal Minister of Labour.  If an occurrence of harassment and violence in the work place results in death, the employer must report this to the Minister within 24 hours. The report must contain certain specified information.

And More

The employer and the applicable partner must jointly review and if necessary, update the training at least once every three years and following any changes.

The employer must make information available to employees on the support services available within their geographic area.  

Former employees may make complaints, but only within a narrow time frame.

Federally regulated employers ought to immediately review them and prepare to implement the changes necessary to assure compliance by no later than January 1, 2021.

This is a slightly modified version of an article that appeared in the Kelowna Capital News and other online publications on or about July 19, 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