By Charlie Voelker, Esq.
In 2015, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 132 to “amend various statues with respect to sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and related matters.” The bill creates a number changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which you should be aware of – the most important being the expansion of the definition workplace sexual harassment. Bill 132 defines two new categories of workplace sexual harassment:
- Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or
- Making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.
This expansion shows clear intent on the part of the Ontario Government to limit the incidence of inappropriate and damaging conduct in Ontarian workplaces. With the addition of new categories of prohibited conduct, employee training is more critical than ever to ensure your organization complies with the new legislation.
Under the bill, each employer is required to develop and regularly review a written program that implements its anti-harassment policy and provides processes to ensure that complaints of harassment are properly investigated. In addition, employers must provide workers with “appropriate information and instruction on the contents of both the policy and program.”
Skillsoft’s course, Preventing Harassment and Violence in the Canadian Workplace, is specifically developed to address the original requirements of Ontario Bill 168, as well as Bill 132. It also includes references to legislation in other provinces as well as federal law, providing a solution that can be utilized across all of Canada.
View a demo of the course here.
Charlie Voelker, Esq. is the Legal Compliance Solution Manager at Skillsoft.