Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act
LCH Resources Limited, is committed to providing Training and Consulting Services to ensure our clients achieve compliance with Ontario's new legislation, which aims to Support Survivors and Challenge Sexual Violence and Harassment.
The laws in Ontario are changing. Achieve compliance today. Do you want to save hours and hours of work? Do you have the time to research and become an expert on policy development? If not, we can help implement the policy, process, procedures, and training to ensure you are compliant in a cost effective manner. Why spend thousands of dollars in employee hours and aggravation when we have a cost effective package to get you compliant quickly.
With respect to employment, the Act will amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHS Act”) by adding a definition of “workplace sexual harassment”, expanding the definition of “workplace harassment”, and
imposing new duties on employers in an effort to protect workers from harassment.
When it comes into force, the Act will add the following definition of “workplace sexual harassment” to the OHS Act:
(a) 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
(b) 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;
The definition of “workplace harassment” will be expanded to include “workplace sexual harassment”. In addition, a new section 1(4) will specify that reasonable actions of employers or supervisors related to the “management and direction of workers or the workplace is not workplace harassment.”
The Act will also impose new duties on employers with respect to workplace harassment. Employers will be required to ensure that incidents and complaints of workplace harassment are investigated in a manner “that is appropriate in the circumstances”, and that the alleged victim (and the alleged harasser, if he or she is an employee of the employer) is informed of the results of the investigation in writing, and of any corrective action that has been (or will be) taken.
The Act will also expand employers’ existing duties to “develop and maintain a written program to implement a policy with respect to workplace harassment” to include:
a reporting structure that allows workers to report workplace harassment to persons other than their employer or supervisor in situations where the employer or supervisor is the alleged perpetrator;
details about how information obtained as part of an incident or complaint of workplace harassment “will not be disclosed unless the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating or taking corrective action with respect to the incident or complaint, or is otherwise required by law”; and
a mechanism detailing how a worker (and the alleged harasser, if he or she is an employee of the employer) will be informed of the results of the investigation into the alleged workplace harassment and of any corrective action that has been (or that will be) taken as a result.
Such programs must be developed in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative, if any. A program must be reviewed as often as necessary, and at least annually, “to
ensure that it adequately implements the policy with respect to workplace harassment.”
The OHS Act will also be amended by the inclusion of a provision that permits an inspector to order an employer to conduct an investigation, at the employer’s expense, “by an impartial person possessing such knowledge, experience or qualifications as are specified by the inspector and to obtain, at the expense of the employer, a written report by that person.”
The portions of the Act that amend the OHS Act will come into force on September 8, 2016 (six months after the day the Act received Royal Assent).