For Immediate Release
May 2, 2012
Ministry of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government
New measures address workplace bullying and prevention
VICTORIA – A pledge to prevent workplace bullying and harassment was made in conjunction with amendments to Bill 14 tabled today by Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government.
The Province is taking immediate action against bullying and harassment in the workplace. Action items include:
· WorkSafeBC will immediately begin work on a policy on Bullying and Harassment and will include stakeholder consultation.
· The definition of violence will be expanded and will require employers to have formal prevention plans.
· WorkSafeBC will also develop a prevention toolkit for employers and workers.
· Through Bill 14, workers’ compensation will be expanded to include diagnosed mental disorders caused by significant work-related stressors, including bullying and harassment.
In addition, the B.C. employer community will play a leading role in preventing workplace bullying and harassment, by assisting in developing the toolkits and by sharing them with their members. This commitment comes from the Business Council of British Columbia, BC Chamber of Commerce, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., the Employers Health and Safety Association and the Coalition of BC Businesses.
Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government –
“Our government’s position on bullying is straightforward – it’s simply not acceptable at any level. That’s why one of the most important changes we made was to add specific references to bullying and harassment. WorkSafeBC will develop and add new policy to the current violence in the workplace regulations and provide tools to address these destructive behaviours. Stakeholders will be consulted on this important work.”
“Bill 14 is a significant piece of legislation for workers and employers. We need to make sure we have the legislation right and that its intentions are clear.”
Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia –
“The employer community supports these reasonable proposed amendments to Bill 14, and we fully support the clear statement that bullying or harassment are not acceptable in the workplace. Our organization is pleased to champion with WorkSafeBC and other employer organizations to assist in the development of national best-practice tools and communications activities to ensure the prevention and awareness of workplace bulling and harassment.”
One aspect of Bill 14 provides broader compensation for work-related mental disorders. The amendments tabled today address recommendations brought forth over the last few months by various stakeholders throughout the province. They include:
· A new reference to bullying and harassment as a significant work-related stressor.
· A “predominant cause” test for mental disorders caused by significant work-related stressors.
· Revised wording from “mental stress” to “mental disorder”.
· A requirement for a diagnosis to be from a psychiatrist or psychologist, rather than from a physician.
Workers Compensation Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/96492_00
Ministry of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government
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