Bill 168 : concerning “Workplace Violence and Harassment”

June 2010
Contributed by Sarah DiMichele

Similar to other employers across Ontario, ABL Employment is working on reviewing and updating our policies and staff training schedules, to ensure compliance with the new requirements which come into law with Bill 168 concerning “Workplace Violence and Harassment/ Domestic Violence at the Workplace”.

Bill 168 received Royal Assent on December 15, 2009. The amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act will, therefore, come into force on June 15, 2010.

Our management team at ABL has recently completed a seminar covering the issues surrounding this. We are very pleased to report that ABL is way ahead of the curve and are ready and able to assist you with questions you may have in regards to this bill or how it affects the temporary workers (and others) on your worksite.


The legislation will require employers to develop:

  • Violence* and harassment policies and programs
  • Employee reporting and incident investigation procedures
  • Emergency response procedure (violence only)
  • Process to deal with incidents, complaints and threats of violence

*Employers are required to complete a risk assessment of violence hazards that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work before developing a program.

Bill 168 adopts an approach similar to other federal and provincial violence and harassment laws by:

  • Providing clarity around employer accountability
  • Taking a process-driven, “how-to” approach to compliance
  • Sending a “take action” message to supervisors and middle-managers

Bill 168 definitions of workplace violence and harassment:

Under Bill 168, workplace violence is defined as:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker in a workplace that causes or could cause physical injury to a worker”
  • “An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker in a workplace that could cause physical injury to a worker”.
  • “A statement or behaviour that is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.”

Under Bill 168, workplace harassment is defined as: “A course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome”

Bill 168 requirements for domestic violence that comes into the workplace:

“The employer must respond when aware of domestic violence that may expose a worker to physical injury in the workplace.”

We encourage you to communicate with your temporary suppliers, to confirm that they are indeed aware of the bill’s requirements. ABL can provide a list of helpful links that we’ve used to double check that we are indeed compliant: Perhaps they will be of use or of interest to you also. Feel free to contact us for this list if you wish.

We also invite you to contact ABL Employment Inc.  if you have any questions about what we have done to insure that we are up to speed and ready to assist you. ●●●

This article is compiled using the following website sources:

  •  Ontario Ministry of Labour
  • Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
  • IAPA

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