Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
On January 1, 2021, Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 (Bill C-65) and the Work Place Harassment and Violence Regulations (Regulations) came into force. Bill C-65 and the Regulations set out the requirements that federally regulated employers will be required to meet in order to satisfy their obligations under the Canada Labour Code (CLC) to investigate, record, report, prevent and provide training with respect to workplace harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
On November 30, 2020, the federal government published Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention - 943-IPG-104 (IPG), which provides answers to questions and practical guidance relating to Bill C-65 and the Regulations. Matters addressed in the IPG that will be of interest to employers include, among other things:
- Whether an “occurrence” of harassment and violence includes incidents that occur outside the employer-provided workplace, or an incident of family or domestic violence;
- The employer’s obligations when it, the policy committee, and the workplace committee or health and safety representative cannot agree on a matter the Regulations require them to address jointly;
- External risk factors employers must consider when conducting the workplace assessment with the applicable partner;
- The purpose of various types of workplace assessments;
- How the employer and workplace committee or health and safety representative should conduct the joint review and update of the workplace assessment in specified situations;
- Examples of risk factors that contribute to workplace harassment and violence and preventive measures that mitigate them;
- What employers and their applicable partners should take into consideration when developing and implementing emergency procedures to deal with an occurrence or threat of an occurrence that poses an immediate danger to the health and safety of an employee;
- To whom employers are required to provide workplace harassment and violence training;
- Examples of “other support services” about which employers must provide information to employees;
- Whom employers may select to be the designated recipient of notices of occurrence of harassment and violence;
- When the employer or designated recipient needs to contact the responding party as part of the resolution process;
- What a negotiated resolution is and whether the employer or designated recipient and principal party (and the responding party if contacted) must make every reasonable effort to resolve the occurrence before the matter is referred to an investigator;
- What happens when the employer or designated recipient cannot jointly agree with the principal party whether the occurrence is an action, conduct or comment that is “harassment and violence”;
- Whether a principal party and a responding party can engage in a negotiated resolution or conciliation parallel with an investigation and whether an employer can ask the investigator to suspend an investigation if the principal party wants to engage in negotiated resolution or conciliation;
- What occurs if the employer and the workplace committee or health and safety representative cannot agree on which of an investigator’s recommendations should be implemented;
- What happens if the employer is unable to complete the resolution process within the required timelines;
- What information the employer or designated recipient should include in the monthly resolution process status updates provided to the principal party and responding party, and whether they can be provided by an investigator if the occurrence is being resolved by an investigation;
- Who should have access to the health and safety records an employer is required to keep under the Regulations; and
- The period of time that must be covered in the annual report the employer must provide to the Minister on or before March 1 of each year.
Bottom Line for Employers
Effective January 1, 2021, Bill C-65 requires federally regulated employers to satisfy their obligations under the CLC to investigate, record, report, prevent and provide training with respect to workplace harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. These are significant obligations that federally regulated employers must take seriously.