Human Resources Legislative Update
Federal Government Introduces Legislation to Prevent Workplace Harassment and Violence
Date: November 9, 2017
On November 7, 2017, the federal government tabled 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, which, if passed, will amend the Canada Labour Code with respect to the prevention of workplace harassment and violence and enact health and safety obligations into the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act.
Canada Labour Code (Code) Amendments
Amendments to Part II (Occupational Health and Safety) of the Code would, among other things:
- specifically recognize psychological injuries and illnesses in the preventative purpose of Part II
- create a new specific duty for an employer to:
- investigate, record and report, in accordance with the regulations, all occurrences of harassment or violence known to the employer; and
- take prescribed measures to prevent and protect against harassment and violence in the workplace, to respond to such occurrences and to offer support to employees affected by workplace harassment and violence
- require that complaints of violence or harassment that are not resolved between the employee and supervisor are referred directly to the Minister, who would be obligated to investigate the complaint unless the Minister is of the opinion that the complaint has been adequately dealt with and the matter is trivial, frivolous or vexatious
- repeal the current provisions which allow an employer to request an exemption from establishing a workplace health and safety committee where the work being done by employees at the workplace is relatively free from risks to health and safety, with a limited transitional provision.
Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (PESRA)
Amendments to the PESRA apply to Parliamentary employees such as employees of the House of Commons, the Senate, the Parliamentary Protective Service, the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Library of Parliament.
The current Part III of PESRA (Occupational Safety and Health) was never proclaimed into force after the enactment of PESRA in 1985. Bill C-65 would replace Part III with a new Part III which would:
- extend Part II of the Code to these defined Parliamentary employees in the same manner and to the same extent as if the employer were a federal work, undertaking or business
- require the Minister to publicly report back on any directions that have been issued under Part II of the Code that were not complied with by tabling the direction in the House of Commons and/or Senate. This same tabling obligation would apply to orders, decisions and directions of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board that were not complied within the allotted time.
The Bill should be consulted for coming into force information.