Workplace Violence & Harassment Policy
I. Introduction and Purpose
As a worker of Province Brands of Canada (the "Company"), you have certain rights and obligations. Above all, you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to work in an environment that promotes the health, safety and well-being of all workers.
In light of these rights and obligations, the Company has developed and implemented this Workplace Violence & Harassment Policy & Program (the "Policy") to prevent violence and harassment in the workplace. A copy of this Policy has been posted in a visible location in each workplace and may be found on the Province Brands Team Portal.
The Company will not tolerate instances of workplace violence or workplace harassment (including sexual harassment), in the workplace from other employees, purchasers, contractors, subcontractors, vendors, or customers, or anyone else that does business with us.
This Policy applies to all of the Company’s employees, independent contractors, visitors, agents and any other person deemed a “worker” under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (the "OHSA"). For the purposes of this Policy only, the terms “employee” and “worker” are used interchangeably.
This Policy also applies to all activities that occur while in, on, or about the workplace, and while engaging in Company business, activities and/or social events, outside of the workplace. For example, if you attend a Company meeting or a social event (including those outside the office and outside your usual work hours), the terms of this Policy will apply.
Definitions of Key Terms
I. Workplace Violence Defined
The OHSA defines "workplace violence" as:
(i) the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker in a workplace that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker;
(ii) an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker in a workplace that could cause physical injury to the worker; or,
(iii) a statement or behaviour that it 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.
“Domestic Violence” can be a form of workplace violence insofar as it endangers a targeted worker of the Company as well as their co-workers. If anyone in the Company becomes aware (or should be reasonably aware) that violence from a domestic source (spouse, partner, parent, child, etc.) has taken place or is likely to take place, which would expose a worker to physical injury in the workplace, that person must immediately inform their manager or supervisor ("Workplace Violence").
If you believe that someone is about to act in a way that puts their safety and/or that of you or your co- workers in immediate risk of Workplace Violence, you should immediately call 9-1-1 and relocate to a safe part of the workplace. You should also immediately contact your Health & Safety Representative, Marija Desnoyers (if onsite), as soon as is practical or reasonable to report such an incident.
II. History of Violent Behaviour
If the Company becomes aware of any person in the workplace with a history of violent behaviour, the Company shall assess whether you or any other worker may be expected to encounter that person during the course of your work, and if there is a risk of Workplace Violence likely to expose you to physical injury.
If the Company assessment determines that there is a risk of physical injury to you or any other employee(s) in the workplace, while encountering a person with a history of violent behaviour, the Company shall immediately seek advice from legal counsel to determine the correct and appropriate personal information to be provided to you and any other employee with respect to the person with the history of violent behaviour.
III. “Workplace Harassment” Defined
OHSA defines "workplace harassment" as: (i) a course of vexatious comments or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or (ii) sexual harassment. For the purposes of this Policy, workplace harassment also includes discriminatory harassment, which targets an individual or group of individuals based on characteristics protected under applicable human rights legislation ("Workplace Harassment").
“Sexual harassment” is defined as: (i) engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comments or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or (ii) 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 exercise of a supervisor’s or manager’s normal supervisory responsibilities, including performance management, training, evaluation, counselling, and discipline, even if it results in unpleasant feelings or consequences for you or some other employee, does not constitute Workplace Harassment. Differences of opinion or minor disagreements, occasional compliments or comments of a socially acceptable nature and actions that are usually acceptable in most elements of society also do not constitute Workplace Harassment.
Rights and Responsibilities
I. Workers’ Rights
Under the OHSA, a worker has the right to:
refuse to work under circumstances where they feel their personal safety is at risk due to Workplace Violence, or the threat of Workplace Violence (note that there is no legislative right to refuse work in instances where workplace harassment is alleged);
report or file a complaint under this Policy without fear of retaliation; and,
be listened to, and have concerns about, violence or harassment in the workplace dealt with appropriately.
II. Workers’ Responsibilities
Workers are expected to:
follow work refusal procedures, as required under OHSA and Company Policy, when addressing these issues;
act respectfully to others at work and while conducting Company business;
report any instance of Workplace Violence or Harassment immediately to their supervisor in writing, if possible;
cooperate during investigations of Workplace Violence or Harassment; and
follow all measures and procedures set out in this Policy.
III. Managers’ and Supervisors’ Responsibilities
All managers and supervisors acting on behalf of the Company are responsible for the following:
promoting and encouraging the reporting of incidents of Workplace Violence and/or Harassment;
actively listening to, offering assistance to and/or taking appropriate action to respond to complaints and concerns of Workplace Violence or Harassment;
maintaining records of Workplace Violence or Harassment-related complaints, concerns and investigations, and keeping those records confidential to the fullest extent possible;
assisting in investigating claims of Workplace Violence or Harassment;
taking all reasonable precautions to prevent, minimize and eliminate Workplace Violence or Harassment-related hazards in the workplace; and
acting respectfully at work, while conducting company business, and in compliance with this Policy.
IV. The Company’s Responsibilities
The Company is responsible for taking every reasonable precaution to ensure that no worker is exposed to Workplace Violence or Harassment, and will:
provide training to its workers on controls and procedures that have been implemented to eliminate and minimize risk (including training related to the potential for Workplace Violence and Workplace Violence particular to certain roles and how to report incidents);
conduct a risk assessment to identify potential Workplace Violence issues, including reviewing workplace hazards as well as job specific orientation for new employees as required by applicable law;
inform workers and/or Marija Desnoyers of the results of the assessment and provide copies;
as required, provide information to workers regarding individuals with a history of violent behaviour if the worker can reasonably be expected to encounter the violent person in the course of their work;
take every reasonable precaution to protect workers in cases where any known domestic violence would likely expose a worker to physical injury in the workplace;
investigate reports of Workplace Violence and Harassment and, where required by applicable law, inform the complainant and the alleged wrongdoer in writing of the results of the investigation and any corrective actions that will be taken;
ensure that workers are provided with information and instruction that is appropriate for the worker on the contents of this Policy with respect to the prevention of Workplace Violence and Harassment;
as prescribed, ensure any incidents are promptly reported to Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (the "WSIB"), the Ontario Ministry of Labour and any other authorities, as required;
review this Policy on an annual basis in consultation with Marija Desnoyers as required by applicable law; and
not disclose any more information than may reasonably be necessary to investigate a complaint, protect a worker or take corrective actions (except where required by law).
V. Role of the Safety Representative
The Safety Representative is an important part of our Policy. The Safety Representative shall be consulted or involved for the following:
about the development and implementation of the Workplace Violence & Harassment Program;
to assist in the review, at least annually, of the Workplace Violence & Harassment Program;
to assist in any investigations regarding incidents arising from Workplace Violence or Harassment where required; and
to assist in any other way as may be requested or required.
Workplace Violence & Harassment Program
The program sets out measures and procedures to control, report, investigate and resolve matters of Workplace Violence and Harassment.
I. Risk Assessment in the Workplace
We will conduct a risk assessment of the workplace to determine if any risks or hazards exist, including any potential or actual psychosocial hazards, that may jeopardize the health and safety of a worker or cause undue stress. Re-assessments will be conducted as often as necessary to ensure the Program is maintained and our workers are protected.
The Company will consider factors in the risk assessment including:
the location of work and circumstances in which work will take place that may pose risk to a worker;
previous experience or records of incidents of workplace Violence and Harassment;
occupational experience or other known circumstances in similar workplaces resulting in workplace violence; and
causation factors associated with incidents of Workplace Violence.
II. Risk Control Measures
We will complete the risk assessment and provide for each circumstance identified control measures and procedures required for the protection of workers.
Where necessary, control measures and procedures must also consider and include in the prevention program other sources of risk such as from other employees, purchasers, contractors, subcontractors, vendors, or customers, including homeowners, or anyone else that does business with us.
III. Reporting Workplace Violence and/or Harassment
You must report all incidents of workplace Violence or Harassment, or threats of Workplace Violence or Harassment. If such incident occurs at a Province office or facility, you must contact your team leader. If the incident does not occur at one of these locations, you must contact Marija Desnoyers.
Anytime it is determined that a more detailed written report from a worker or complainant is required, the complainant should write down as much as possible about everything that happened as it relates to the complaint, including:
names of the complainants and contact information;
names of the alleged wrongdoers, positions and contact information;
names of any witnesses or other persons with relevant information and contact information;
details of what happened, including dates, frequency and location of the alleged incidents; and,
any supporting documents in their possession or believed to be in the possession of others.
Complaints must be truthful and should provide all the information the employee knows regarding the matter so that it can be investigated and addressed in an appropriate and timely manner. It is important to realize that the Company will view seriously any reports which, upon investigation, prove not to be substantiated (unless made in good faith pursuant to this Policy) or which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false. The Company will regard the making of any deliberately false or malicious allegations by any employee as a serious disciplinary offence, which will result in corrective action, up to and including termination of employment without notice or pay in lieu and pursuing civil and/or criminal avenues of recourse.
IV. Incident Investigation
Marija Desnoyers with the assistance of the Human Resources Department and the Legal Department will promptly, and thoroughly, investigate all acts of reported Workplace Violence or Harassment, or related threats, in a fair and impartial manner that is appropriate in the circumstances. Depending on the circumstances, an investigation may include:
taking any interim steps deemed necessary through the course of the investigation, including permitting or requiring that one party stop attending work or be reassigned to another location or team;
ensuring the investigation is conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. Identifying information about any individuals involved will not be disclosed unless such disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking corrective action with respect to the incidence or complaint, or is otherwise required by law;
interviewing the complainant, the alleged wrongdoer and any witnesses where appropriate; and
involving or seeking advice from external specialists to assist in the investigation.
When the Company has completed its investigation, the Company will, to the extent required by law, inform in writing the person filing the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the conduct of the results of that investigation and of any corrective action that has been taken or that will be taken as a result of the findings identified in the investigation.
If it is determined that a complaint is substantiated, the Company will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where it is appropriate, the Company will also impose corrective action, up to and including immediate termination of employment without notice and pursuing civil and/or criminal avenues of recourse.
V. Confidentiality, Privacy and Records
The name of a complainant, alleged wrongdoer or witness, or any circumstances related to any complaint, will not be disclosed to anyone. However, information may be disclosed to the extent it is needed to protect workers, to investigate the complaint, to take corrective action, or as required by law.
Furthermore, the Company may, in its sole discretion, require that any worker that advances a complaint, or is interviewed as a witness or a respondent in a complaint, shall sign a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement that prohibits the worker from discussing the facts or details of the investigation with any employee or individual at the workplace.
All records made during an investigation are strictly confidential. No record of the complaint, investigation or decision will be filed in the complainant’s record, if the complaint is made in good faith. An incident following investigation by the Company and the discipline imposed on the wrongdoer will be filed in the wrongdoer’s record, as appropriate.
The Company will not tolerate any form of retaliation, including any change in the terms or conditions of employment, against an employee who acts in good faith (i.e., sincerely) and with reasonable grounds for believing that a violation of this Policy has occurred or who expressed concern, witnessed, complained about or resisted violence, harassment or retaliation or participated in any investigation regarding same.
The Company makes every reasonable effort to remedy the effects of workplace violence and harassment. Remedies will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The Company will do its best to resolve all matters referred to in this Policy. However, this Policy is not intended to prevent or discourage any worker from pursuing other complaint procedures that are alternatively available, including through provincial commissions or agencies.
VIII. Disciplinary Action
In the event that any worker of the Company is found in contravention of this Policy, that worker will be subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, or services being provided to the Company, without notice or pay in lieu.
Further questions about this Policy and related procedures can be made to Marija Desnoyers at email@example.com.
X. Annual Review
This Policy may be amended from time to time in the sole discretion of the Company and will be reviewed annually. The next review is scheduled to take place on or before July 30, 2019.
By typing your name below, you acknowledge that you have read, understood and agree to the terms of this Policy, as may be amended from time to time, and that a failure by you to comply with this Policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination of your employment without notice or pay in lieu.