Emerging Issues, In the News

New Year, New Rules: Introducing a one-stop shop to meet Canada’s new workplace domestic violence regulations

January 11, 2021

For many of us, 2021 couldn’t have come fast enough! It’s a new year and if you’ve kept up with Canadian labour news, it also ushers in some new labour rules. Starting January 1, 2021, the Canada Labour Code (CLC) expands regulations on workplace violence and harassment policies in response to Bill C-65. These revisions aren’t a mere formality; they require three major and meaningful actions from employers themselves:

1. Employers now need a robust harassment and violence policy that covers domestic violence and meets certain requirements.

2. Employers must know how to properly respond to employees’ disclosures of violence.

3. Employees must undergo mandatory domestic violence workplace training.

Who do these changes affect?

So far, these policies affect federally regulated employers only, but do not be misled by the term “federally regulated” as they apply to much more than government employees. If you or someone you know works for a business such as a bank, airline, railway, radio station, or a cross-province trucking company, their workplace must abide by these new rules. Click here for a full list of “federally regulated” employers.

Of course, nothing should stop other workplaces from being proactive and adopting these practices as well. After all, these actions only better protect and support employees who find themselves in vulnerable situations. As the occupational health and safety legislation continues to evolve, other workplaces might be ahead of the curve when regulations change again in the future.

What we’re doing to make the new transition easier

Over the past several months, our team at the Centre for Research and Education in Violence Against Women, in collaboration with the Canadian Labour Congress and FETCO, has designed a free and easy-to-use website for employers (and employees too!) to fulfill all the new labour requirements in one place.

Check out www.dvatwork.ca

That means Canadian employers can register on the website and easily assess their current policy’s adequacy and identify gaps for compliance, and promptly and easily assemble a new compliant policy.

Afterwards, managers and employers can also use our free website to assess the best response to an individual’s disclosure of violence. How dangerous is their situation? How urgently do we need to respond? What external factors in the situation need to be considered? What are you even supposed to do next? Evaluating these situations is no easy task and our website strives to make them a smooth experience for everyone.

Meanwhile through all of this, employers can direct their employees to complete their certified domestic violence training in the same place. All they have to do is register on the website and complete their training. In a few hours, they could check one off a major accomplishment in 2021.

Like any New Year’s Resolution, the most daunting and exciting part is just getting started on it. So go ahead, visit the website, and get yourself one step closer to becoming compliant and a source of reassurance for all of your employees.