As of January 1, 2021, federally regulated organizations are required to implement and introduce a number of significant changes to address workplace harassment and violence in the workplace. The new changes were introduced by the Canadian government in June 2020, as the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations (“the Regulations”). The Regulations incorporate amendments to the Canada Labour Code. These amendments impose heavy obligations on federal employers with regards to workplace harassment, including sexual harassment and a requirement to establish a safe and healthy working environment for all Canadians.
A brief overview of the several obligations federal employers are required to comply with under the Regulations:
- Workplace Assessment: Federal employers are required to conduct a workplace assessment that takes into account a number of factors, such as the culture, conditions, organizational structure, measures in place to protect psychological health and safety in the workplace, external workplace circumstances such as domestic violence and various other risk factors. The development of preventative measures and the workplace assessment must be completed by the employer and their policy committee, a workplace committee or the health and safety representative (referred to as the “applicable partner”. .
- Workplace Harassment Prevention Policy: It is mandatory for employers to establish and implement a workplace harassment prevention policy with their applicable partner. The purpose of the policy is to outline how the organization will address harassment and violence in the workplace. There is an extensive list of policy requirements, some of which include, a mission statement, description of roles of the employer, employee’s, designated recipient, and applicable partner, a list of internal and external factors that contribute to harassment and violence, training, support measures and several others.
- Emergency Procedures: Employers must develop and implement emergency procedures that would be used in an occurrence of workplace harassment or violence to ensure the safety of an employee(s).
- Training: Employers are required to develop and deliver workplace harassment and violence training to all employees. Training must include, the workplace harassment and violence prevention policies, information on how to recognize, minimize, and prevent harassment and violence and the correlation between workplace harassment and violence and the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
- Support Measures: Employer’s are obligated to provide all employee’s with information on psychological, medical, in addition to other support services in their geographical area.
- Resolution Process: The resolution process requires employers to follow mandatory procedural requirements and timelines when attempting to resolve alleged occurrences of workplace violence or harassment. A few key additions include, complaints can be provided to the employee’s supervisor or the designated recipient, former employees can make a complaint within three months of their employment termination, the principal party (the victim) must receive a response from their employer or designated recipient within seven (7) days of the complaint, a reasonable effort to resolve the complaint must be completed within forty-five (45) days of a complaint through negotiated resolution. The parties may wish to resolve the complaint through conciliation if they both agree with an individual to facilitate it. When a complaint fails to be resolved through negotiated resolution or conciliation, an investigation must be conducted if the principal party requests it.
THE INVESTIGATORS GROUP’S ROLE IN THE NEW WORKPLACE HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE REGULATIONS
The Regulations require the investigation to be carried out by an investigator who is trained in investigative techniques, has the training, knowledge and experience relevant to workplace harassment and violence, and familiar of the Code and Canadian Human Rights Act.
The Investigators Group’s (IGI) team of skilled investigators encompass every aforementioned requirement and more. We have experience investigating sensitive workplace issues such as sexual assault, criminal harassment and domestic violence issues that migrate into the workplace in all levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal. Our experience also includes policy breaches, anonymous complaints, and workplace health and safety incidents.
IGI’s team of workplace investigators, human resources professionals and legal consultants are experienced, independent, impartial, and objective. We excel in all stages of workplace harassment and violence investigations, particularly witness statements and interviews.
At the end of the investigation, the investigator is required to provide their final report to the employer, workplace committee and both parties. The report must contain the investigators conclusions, recommendations and general description of the occurrence. The report cannot reveal the identities of the parties involved to protect their identities.
Employers are required to retain several records to support their enforcement measures for ten (10) years. The records must include, all copies of complaints, the actions taken in response to any complaint, a copy of each annual report, investigator reports and various other documents. Lastly, the Regulations impose heavy reporting obligations on employers. This includes delivering an annual report to the Minister related to harassment and violence in the workplace on or prior to March 1 of each year. Some of the information required in the annual report include, the total number of occurrences by identifying occurrences related to sexual harassment and non-sexual, number of occurrences that resulted in death, locations of occurrences, the details relating to the resolution process and more.
*Please note: This publication is a general explanation of the new changes to the Workplace Harassment and Violence laws for federally regulated employers. It does not include all details relating to The Regulations. All of our investigators have received appropriate education and training on all aspects of The Regulations, and are available to provide you with more information should you have any questions.
By Sean Gladney, Vice-President, The Investigators Group Inc.
For more information regarding workplace harassment investigations, you can contact Sean via email at email@example.com
The Investigators Group Inc. (IGI) was established in 1995 as a full service private investigation and security firm serving individuals across North America. We serve the legal, insurance and corporate communities as well as individuals through our civil and executive services. IGI provides professional surveillance services, fraud investigators, workplace investigations, undercover operations, loss prevention and security services.
Contact us today so we can provide the appropriate investigative solution for all your needs.