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We care. And it’s not just about “compliance.”

At Career Edge Organization, the health and safety of our employees is first and foremost. Our concern extends beyond the bodies in our National head office and includes the hundreds of interns that are working in our working for host employers across Canada at any given time.

So, when Bill 168 came into effect yesterday, we were ready.

Working in an office environment, it’s not an uncommon reaction for employees to brush the topic of workplace violence aside. You look around the room at your surrounding team and you cannot even fathom a risky situation taking place. I wondered – is violence in the workplace even an issue in Canada?

Here are some surprising stats on workplace violence from the IAPA:

 From April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009, Ontario Ministry of Labour Inspectors made 417 field visits and issued 351 orders related to violence in the workplace. (MOL, 2009).

 In 2007, there were 2,150 allowed lost-time claims from assaults, violent acts, harassment and acts of war or terrorism in Ontario (WSIB, 2007).

 Bullied employees waste 10-52% of their time at work. Research shows they spend time defending themselves and networking for support, thinking about the situation, being de-motivated and stressed, not to mention taking sick leave due to stress-related illnesses. (CSC)

 According to the 2004 General Social Survey, 17% of all self-reported incidents of violent victimization, including sexual assault, robbery and physical assault, happened at the workplace. This represents over 356,000 violent workplace incidents in Canada (StatCan, 2007).

 There is evidence that violence has increased in Canadian workplaces over the past 5 years: 66% of organizations report an increase in aggressive acts within their workplaces. And, 82% report an increase in both formal incident reports and grievances (CIWV, 2000).

Rizwan Abdul is the Human Resources and Client Relations Manager at Career Edge Organization and took on the hefty role of preparing our organization for the small yet very significant changes that come with Bill 168.

As per what is required of Ontario employers under Bill 168, Career Edge Organization took all the necessary steps such as implementing policies and programs, conducting risk assessments, etc.

But during this morning’s orientation on these new amendments to the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA), it was enlightening when Rizwan pointed out for us that workplace violence and harassment is not limited to acts committed by employees but includes clients and domestic violence.

We all know that domestic violence is an unfortunate reality in Canada however I never thought of the implications this might have on the workplace. In fact, domestic violence does not always stay within the boundaries of one’s home and often spills over into the workplace sometimes involving and endangering others. The IAPA has a great resource entitled, “Domestic Violence Doesn’t Stop When Your Worker Arrives at Work: What Employers Need to Know to Help” which we highly recommend to employers.

It’s not the most pleasant topic to think about or discuss but it is incredibly important for employers to ensure their staff are aware of how to protect themselves and minimize risks.