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Workplace Harassment and Workplace Violence Policies in the N.W.T.

11-Jan-16

Working in the Northwest Territories - Where are Your Workplace Harassment and Workplace Violence Policies?

By Glenn Tait

In an earlier e-alert, we advised employers that the Safety Act of the Northwest Territories was substantively amended and went into effect on June 1, 2015.

Included in the new Regulation are requirements dealing with harassment and violence in the workplace. There is a requirement that all employers have a workplace harassment policy which complies with the provisions of the Regulation. And for workplaces where “violence can be reasonably expected to occur” – workplaces such as liquor sales and consumption establishments, establishments that provide educational, taxi, transit, and crisis counselling, and health care facilities – the employer in such workplaces must have a workplace violence policy. Again, this policy must comply with the Regulations.

Safety Officers, who regularly conduct employer inspections to enforce both the Safety Act and the Workers Compensation Act, are now requiring, as part of their inspections, that employers produce their harassment policy, to allow the Safety Officer to review it to determine if it complies with the new Regulation. If employers do not have a harassment policy, they are required to introduce one, within a very short period of time. Employers in industries where a workplace violence policy is required can expect similar requests.

If you are an employer and operate in the Northwest Territories, you must have a harassment policy which complies with the Safety Act Regulation requirements. You may also require a compliant workplace violence policy. If you operate in Nunavut, it is anticipated that a parallel requirement will be in place within a matter of months.

We have drafted and advised employers on a large number of workplace harassment and workplace violence policies. We are happy to assist you in creating policies which comply with the NWT legislation, or in reviewing your existing policies to ensure that they are compliant.

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