Canadian Government Seeking Comment on Workplace Violence Protections

Violence against workers is most likely to arise from clients, customers, or other members of the public, according to the Ministry of Labour in Ontario, Canada, which is currently seeking input to determine if current protections against workplace violence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act should be enhanced or clarified. The Ministry has released a consultation paper outlining the issues around workplace violence and is requesting comments from labor and employer stakeholders, as well as from the general public.

The Ministry says its inspectors are trained to address complaints of workplace violence and proactively check for procedures to address workplace violence in situations where the nature of the work raises the risk. That risk is higher in certain sectors, such as health care, social services, retail, hospitality, education, transportation, police, security agencies, and correctional services, officials say, adding that a number of work activities increase the risk: handling cash, protecting or securing valuables, transporting people and goods, a mobile workplace (such as a vehicle), public or community contact, working alone or with just a few people, or working late nights or very early mornings.

"We want Ontario workers to enjoy safe and healthy workplaces," said Labour Minister Brad Duguid. "At the same time, we must make sure that our occupational health and safety legislation protects them from workplace violence in a balanced way that reflects the realities of today's workplaces."

To read the Ministry's consultation paper on workplace violence, visit www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/consultation/wp_violence/index.html. The closing date for comments on this consultation is Oct. 17. They can be e-mailed to workplaceviolenceprevention@ontario.ca, faxed to (416) 326-7650, or snail-mailed to Workplace Violence Review Project, Ontario Ministry of Labour, 400 University Ave., 12th Fl., Toronto, ON M7A 1T7.

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