|In the midst of the high-profile “#metoo” campaign currently taking place on social media around the world, the federal government has introduced potential changes to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) to more directly address workplace harassment.
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, (the “Bill”) was introduced on November 7, 2017. If passed, it would amend the Codeand clarify the obligations of federally-regulated employers to prevent and protect against workplace harassment and violence.
Currently, Part II of the Code requires federally-regulated employers to take a series of prescribed steps to prevent and protect against “violence” in the workplace. These steps include assigning a competent investigator who is impartial and has knowledge, training, and experience in these matters to make conclusions and recommendations in the event the issue cannot be resolved with the complainant directly.
The proposed amendments have addressed this issue by specifically including harassment as a term in Part II of the Code and by requiring employers to follow the Code’s investigation requirements for all allegations that may meet the definition of harassment. However, the Bill does not contain a proposed definition of harassment. Rather, the Bill provides that the definition of harassment, as well as the procedure for investigating harassment complaints, will be set by regulation.
In this article we will provide specific highlights of the proposed amendments.
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