Human Resources Legislative Update

Federal Government Passes Legislation Aimed at Preventing Harassment and Violence in the Workplace

Human Resources Legislative Update

Federal Government Passes Legislation Aimed at Preventing Harassment and Violence in the Workplace

Date: October 31, 2018

On October 25, 2018, 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 (Act) received Royal Assent.

As previously reported on November 9, 2017, November 27, 2017, and June 28, 2018, this Act amends the Canada Labour Code (Code), and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act (PESRA).

Specifically, the Act broadens the purpose of Part II of the Code to include preventing harassment and violence, as well as physical and psychological injuries and illnesses. It makes the necessary consequential amendments, such as adding a definition of “harassment and violence” and requiring employers to:

  • prevent and protect against harassment and violence in the workplace
  • provide training to supervisors and managers
  • respond to occurrences of harassment and violence in the workplace, including investigating and offering support to affected employees.

The Act also replaces Part III of PESRA (Occupational Safety and Health) by defining “employer” and by broadening the application to include non-employees who perform activities for the employer and “whose primary purpose is to enable the non-employee to acquire knowledge or experience” such as volunteers or interns. In addition, the Act clarifies the powers of the Speakers and specifies that it shall not be construed as limiting the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate and the House of Commons and their members.

The amendments to the Code and to PESRA will into force on a day fixed by order of the Governor in Council.