Section 20.8 of the Regulations
- The employer shall develop in writing and implement emergency notification procedures to summon assistance where immediate assistance is required, in response to work place violence.
- The employer shall ensure that employees are made aware of the emergency notification procedures applicable to them and that the text of those procedures is posted at a location readily accessible to those employees.
- In the development and implementation of emergency notification procedures, the employer's decision of whether or not to notify the police shall take into account the nature of the work place violence and the concerns of employees who experienced the work place violence.
- If the police are investigating a violent occurrence, the work place committee or the health and safety representative shall be notified of their investigation, unless notification is prohibited by law.
- The employer shall develop and implement measures to assist employees who have experienced work place violence.
This section describes the response to the different types of violence that may occur, with a focus on incidents that may pose an imminent risk to the employee. Employees must be made aware of specific emergency notification procedures to summon assistance under such circumstances, and the procedures must be posted at a location where they can easily find and read them. The written procedures are important for information, for self-protection and to minimize the impact of incidents. They will be used to initiate action without delay for the protection of everyone at the work site.
In deciding whether to notify the police, the employer must consider the nature of the WPV and the concerns of employees who are involved. It is recommended that procedures include a statement that any physical assault in the work place is to be reported to the police. The employer should call the police in case of uncertainty and the police will then decide whether the incident is a matter for them to handle. It is important to note that even if the employees involved do not wish the police to be contacted, it remains the responsibility of the employer to make the final decision regarding police involvement to address the incident. However, if the employees involved request to have the police notified, the employer must do so.
Section 20.9 of the Regulations
- In this section, "competent person" means a person who:
- is impartial and is seen by the parties to be impartial;
- has knowledge, training and experience in issues relating to work place violence; and
- has knowledge of relevant legislation.
- If an employer becomes aware of work place violence or alleged work place violence, the employer shall try to resolve the matter with the employee as soon as possible.
- If the matter is unresolved, the employer shall appoint a competent person to investigate the work place violence and provide that person with any relevant information whose disclosure is not prohibited by law and that would not reveal the identity of persons involved without their consent.
- The competent person shall investigate the work place violence and at the completion of the investigation provide to the employer a written report with conclusions and recommendations.
- The employer shall, on completion of the investigation into the work place violence:
- keep a record of the report from the competent person;
- provide the work place committee or the health and safety representative, as the case may be, with the report of the competent person, providing information whose disclosure is not prohibited by law and that would not reveal the identity of persons involved without their consent; and
- adapt or implement, as the case may be, controls referred to in subsection 20.6(1) to prevent a recurrence of the work place violence.
- Subsection (3) to (5) do not apply if:
- the work place violence was caused by a person other than an employee;
- it is reasonable to consider that engaging in the violent situation is a normal condition of employment; and
- the employer has effective procedures and controls in place involving employees to address work place violence.
Whenever the employer becomes aware of an incident of WPV, the employer must try and resolve the situation between the parties involved. However, a formal investigation by a "competent person" must take place if the employer cannot resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the employees involved. This person can be an employee of the same work place or can be from outside the work place. It is important the affected parties accept this person as an impartial investigator.
The competent person must have knowledge, training and experience in issues relating to work place violence, and must have knowledge of "relevant legislation," which means Part II of the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations made pursuant to the Code. They are not expected to have knowledge beyond the scope of the Code.
A work place may choose to have a list or pool of competent persons who are available to provide this service and are acceptable to the employer and employees of that work place as competent persons.
Violence in the work place can occur between employees or between an employee and a non-employee. The challenge is determining whether a person knows or should know that the behaviour would be considered undesirable or inappropriate by the employee against whom it is directed.
Once the employer is aware of an incident of work place violence, the employer must address and try to resolve the issue with the parties involved. This allows people who have a vested interest and are more knowledgeable about the business and its employees to resolve various issues internally.
If the incident cannot be resolved, then a competent person appointed by the employer will conduct an investigation. However, the employer can address the situation without a competent person if all three of the following criteria are met:
An example of a situation where all three criteria may be met is the case of a police officer who is subjected to WPV while trying to apprehend a person who is drunk and disorderly. First, the person is a non-employee. Second, due to the nature of the occupation of the police officer, engaging in violent situations is a normal condition of employment. Third, the employer has effective controls in place that were developed in consultation with the employees. These controls include safe work procedures for arresting a disorderly person, equipment to subdue the person, and calling for assistance if the level of violence escalates beyond what the officer is capable of handling.
Failure to respect privacy and confidentiality could compromise an investigation, making it less effective. The individuals investigating the incident must not reveal any information whose disclosure is prohibited by law. The employer will provide the work place committee or the health and safety representative, as the case may be, with the report from the competent person revealing only the information whose disclosure is not prohibited by law. For example, if the violent occurrence involved a human rights violation such as sexual harassment, this would not be disclosed. The identity of the persons involved will be revealed to the committee or the health and safety representative only with the consent of those persons involved. Employees, too, should be encouraged to avoid gossiping as it can have a negative impact on the individuals involved and on the investigation.