Workplace violence and harassment prevention
The Yukon Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (OHS Regulations) are rules to help everyone in the workplace-̶ employers, supervisors and workers-̶ improve workplace safety cultures. In workplaces, employers are responsible for protecting both the physical and psychological health and safety of their workers. Workers are responsible for following the safe work practices developed by employers.
Under the Violence and Harassment Prevention Regulation, a workplace must put measures in place to help prevent injuries that may occur as a result of violence or harassment.
The new Violence and Harassment Prevention Regulation will come into force on September 4, 2021.
All current requirements for compliance under existing Regulations remain in effect. Employers, supervisors and workers are responsible for the health and safety of workplaces, this includes preventing workplace violence and harassment.
Violence and harassment are not welcome in the workplace, but they exist as serious problems in many Yukon workplaces.
Workplace violence is generally understood as the threatened, attempted or actual application of physical force toward a worker that is likely to cause harm or lead a worker to believe that they are likely to be harmed.
Workplace harassment is generally understood as any objectionable comments or behaviours that we know, or should know, are likely unwelcome. This includes any inappropriate comments or objectionable behaviour relating to a worker’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, age, disability, religious beliefs or ethnic background. Examples include sexual advances, bullying, insults, threats, inappropriate jokes or images, gossip, vandalism and isolation.
Risks of violence and harassment are higher in some sectors. In Canada, the sectors where workers experience the highest rates are health care, education, government, emergency services and the service sector (particularly tourism and hospitality, restaurant and food services, and retail).
Sources of violence and harassment can be employers, managers, supervisors, co-workers, customers, clients, members of the public, family members and strangers.
Effects of violence and harassment can be harmful to the victims, bystanders and witnesses, as well as to the organization itself. They can be both immediate and long term.
For individuals, the effects can include minor or serious physical injuries, temporary or permanent physical disability, shock, anxiety and psychological trauma.
For organizations, the effects can include low morale, increased job stress, increased absenteeism and turnover, reduced trust of management and co-workers, and a hostile working environment.
It’s not harassment when managers and supervisors are exercising managerial authority. For example, giving instructions, changing workers’ job duties, determining schedules and workloads, evaluating performance or taking disciplinary actions.
As well, not every incident of unpleasant interactions, disrespectful behaviours or conflict is necessarily harassment, although it may develop into harassment or violence.
Healthy and safe workplaces
We all want to keep healthy and safe at work. Positive and collaborative workplaces are key to protecting workers’ physical and psychological health and safety. We can all influence workplace culture by the things we say and do to encourage safe and acceptable behaviour.
The Violence and Harassment Prevention Regulation requires employers to demonstrate their commitment to creating healthy and safe workplaces that are free of violence and harassment.
Violence and harassment are hazards in any workplace, so all employers need a written policy and procedures that say what everyone in the workplace must do to prevent these hazards from causing harm.
Tools for preventing workplace violence and harassment
The Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Guide explains how to use the new Regulation to improve workplace safety culture and, at the same time, prevent violence and harassment. The guide includes templates and checklists to help workplaces meet the requirements of the Violence and Harassment Prevention Regulation.
To assist workplaces, modifiable versions of the following templates are also available separately.
- Policy and procedures template (Word file) to help workplaces develop policy and procedure statements that meet the requirements of the Regulations.
- Reporting form template (Word file) to be completed by someone who has allegedly experienced violence or harassment in the workplace.
- Investigation report template (Word file) to be used by an investigator when reporting the findings of a workplace violence or harassment investigation.
The following checklists may be useful for orientation or training purposes.
Printed copies of the guide, as well as a workplace poster and brochure are available by contacting a safety officer. Call 867-667-5450 or 800-661-0443, or email [email protected]
Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board
Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) works with employers, supervisors and workers. We aim to improve workplace health and safety and to help workers who may be injured on the job. We have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. There are limits to what legislation allows YWCHSB to do.
Experiencing workplace violence or harassment is distressing. Making sure everyone knows and understands what to expect from YWCHSB—what we can and cannot do—can help.
The role of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) safety officers
When a complaint or incident of violence and harassment is reported to YWCHSB, the safety officer’s role is to check to ensure employers, supervisors and workers are complying with workplace violence and harassment prevention requirements. They may do this as part of a general inspection of a workplace or when investigating a specific complaint or incident.
If contraventions of the OHS Act or Regulations are found, a safety officer may:
- issue orders to the employer to comply with the OHS Act and Regulations, for example, to develop a policy and procedures for the prevention of violence and harassment, to perform a hazard assessment, to put appropriate control measures in place or to train workers in the prevention of violence and harassment;
- order the employer to have an impartial person perform an investigation for the employer; and
- apply enforcement measures such as administrative penalties or prosecution against the employer or others.
Safety officers do not:
- resolve or mediate specific allegations of harassment in the workplace;
- have the authority to order individual remedies such as monetary compensation to individuals who experience violence or harassment in the workplace; or
- interfere with reasonable management practices which do not contravene the OHS Act or Regulations.
How Claimant Services case managers can help
A worker who has or may have suffered any work-related injury needs to tell their employer what has happened and get any required medical attention as soon as possible. The worker should tell their medical practitioner if the injury was work-related and the employer must notify YWCHSB of the injury, by completing an “Employer’s Report of Injury” form, within three days.
To file a claim, a worker needs to submit a “Worker’s Report of Injury” form to YWCHSB. The claim has to be filed within 12 months of the injury. Case managers can answer questions or discuss concerns around submitting a “Worker’s Report of Injury.”
Once a claim has been filed, case managers will also look at the “Employer’s Report of Injury” and the “Doctor’s Report of Injury.” In the case of a psychological injury, the diagnosis must come from a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Case managers at YWCHSB process claims looking at all the evidence and might ask for additional information if needed to make a decision for entitlement. Each claim is decided based on its own merits and always on a case-by-case basis.
Information, training, legislation
Hazards and Risks - The Employer’s Role on this website.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
MDSC Workplace Mental Health is recommended free book (click on the book to download)
Northern Safety Network Yukon online and in-person education and training
Yukon Human Rights Commission. Information sheets:
This is not an exhaustive list of local supports for Yukoners experiencing violence and harassment in the workplace. For Yukoners experiencing violence and harassment in the workplace. This is not an exhaustive list. Please check out other resources such as counsellors and employee assistance programs.
Canadian Mental Health Association—Yukon: 867-668-6429, Facebook
Crisis Centre: online chat for adults and Youth in BC: online chat for youth (BC and Yukon)
KDFN Health Centre Counselling Services, Kwanlin Dün First Nation: 867-668-7289
Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services, Yukon government: 867-456-3838, toll free: 1-866-456-3838
Sexualized Assault Response Team, Yukon government: 1-844-967-7275
Victim Services, Yukon government: 867-667-8500, toll free: 1-800-661-0408 extension 8500
Yukon Human Rights Commission: 867-667-6226, toll free: 1-800-661-0535
Questions and feedback
You can contact us with questions about the Regulation or feedback about resources by phone at 867-667-5645 (toll free at 800-661-0443) or email at [email protected].