On June 18, 2010, the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health
Amendment Act was amended to increase the maximum fines that
may be imposed for contravening the Act. Specifically, the
fine for a first offence has been increased to $250,000 from
$150,000, and the fine for a second or subsequent offence has
increased to $500,000 from $300,000.
In addition, employers in Manitoba need to be aware of upcoming
changes to the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health
Regulations which come into effect on February 1, 2011. These
changes impose a new obligation on employers to protect workers
from psychological harassment in the workplace. Specifically, the
definition of "harassment" has been expanded to include a
direct reference to severe conduct that adversely affects a
worker's psychological or physical well-being.
Psychological harassment is considered "severe" if it
could reasonably cause a worker to be humiliated or intimidated and
is repeated, or, in the case of a single occurrence, has a lasting,
harmful effect on a worker. Normal and reasonable management
actions, including discipline, are not defined as psychological
Finally, employers in Manitoba should be aware of a proposed
Bill that contains amendments to the Workplace Safety and
Health Act which may impose new obligations on employers with
respect to workplace violence and harassment. Bill 219, the
Workplace Safety and Health Amendment Act (Harassment and
Violence in the Workplace), was originally scheduled to come
into force on January 1, 2011. Although this Bill has not yet been
passed, it contains several proposed amendments that employers
should be aware of in light of the increased awareness surrounding
harassment and violence in the workplace.
Manitoba employers are required to prepare and post written
policies dealing with workplace violence and harassment in the
workplace, and they must provide training to workers and
supervisors on how to report, investigate and deal with incidents
of workplace-related harassment or workplace violence. In addition,
employers are already required to identify and assess the risk of
violence in the workplace. Bill 219 goes further and states that
workers must be notified of the results of such assessments, and
the employer must provide any written copies of the assessment on
request, or must advise workers how to obtain copies. Bill 219 also
proposes that employers be required to take reasonable precautions
to protect workers from domestic violence in situations where the
employer is aware, or ought to be aware, that domestic violence is
likely to expose a worker to harassment or physical injury in the
What Should Employers Do?
In light of the upcoming changes to the Workplace Safety and
Health Regulations, employers are advised to review their
current policies and procedures and consider how to address issues
of violence and harassment in the workplace. For example, employers
review existing workplace violence and harassment policies and
ensure that they take into account employer obligations relating to
psychological harassment, and train employees and all supervisors
on such policies;
advise employees how to report instances or risks of workplace
violence and harassment, including psychological harassment;
continue to undertake risk assessments to determine the
possibility or prevalence of workplace violence or harassment, and
consider disclosing the results of these assessments to
ensure that proper security measures are in place at the
workplace to protect workers from workplace violence or
keep detailed records of any workplace violence or harassment,
investigation or work refusal; and
monitor the progress of Bill 219 for additional changes.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).