We take this opportunity to remind you that every employer in
British Columbia is required to develop, implement and maintain
both a workplace harassment policy and workplace harassment
program. This obligation stems from section 115 of the Workers
Compensation Act, which requires that employers ensure the
health and safety of its workers and any other workers present at
the workplace, and provide the information, instruction, training
and/or supervision necessary to ensure work is performed
WorkSafeBC has published Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
policies that expand upon the requirement. Details regarding the
anti-bullying and harassment requirements can be found in OHS
policy D3-115-2. The requirements include: 1) taking steps to
prevent or minimize bullying and harassment, 2) developing and
implementing reporting procedures, 3) developing and implementing
procedures for dealing with incidents and complaints and 4)
annually reviewing the policy statement and procedures for
reporting and dealing with incidents and complaints.
Ontario has now put in place similar requirements effective
September 8, 2016 under the Sexual Violence and Harassment
Action Plan Act (the "Act"), formerly known as Bill
132, which places additional duties on employers with respect to
preventing workplace harassment. The Act amends the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act (the
"OHSA") to include requirements that
develop and maintain a workplace
establish a complaint process and
investigation procedure, and
notify a complainant and respondent
in writing of the results of an investigation and any corrective
In addition, the Act expands the definition of "workplace
harassment" under the OHSA to include "sexual
Both WorkSafeBC and the Ontario Ministry of Labour provide
sample workplace harassment programs and policies. The BC example
can be found at this link here. For Ontario, the examples can be found
at the following links, here and here.
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.
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A recent decision from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Ly v. British Columbia (Interior Health Authority) 2017 BCSC 42, provides helpful clarification of the law on termination of probationary employees on the basis of "suitability" and sends a cautionary note about the importance of fair and objective assessments during probationary periods.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently gave employees and employers a valuable reminder: a breach of an employment contract does not, in and of itself, constitute a constructive dismissal. Even if the breach translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars not being paid.
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