Stronger Sexual Violence and Harassment Laws Come into Effect
Earlier this year, the government passed Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment). The act will make workplaces safer and improve supports for survivors through legislative amendments that come into effect on September 8.
Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) come into effect on September 8. The amendments:
- Require the following three new elements to be included in a workplace harassment program:
- Set out who would investigate if the alleged harasser is the employer or supervisor;
- Set out how confidentiality during investigations will be maintained; and
- Provide the written results of the investigation to the complainant and alleged harasser (if under the employer's direction).
- Add the following new employer duties:
- Duty to ensure an investigation into a workplace harassment complaint is conducted that is appropriate in the circumstances;
- Duty to ensure the complainant and alleged harasser (if under the employer's direction) are informed of the results of the investigation and any corrective action, in writing; and
- Duty to review the program as often as necessary, but at least annually, to ensure that it adequately implements the workplace harassment policy.
- Add a new definition of workplace sexual harassment to the OHSA and clarify that workplace harassment includes workplace sexual harassment;
- Clarify that workplace harassment does not include a "reasonable management action";
- Provide inspectors with the authority to order that an employer engage an impartial person to investigate a workplace harassment complaint or incident.
Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) come into effect on September 8. The amendments:
- Shorten the notice period to end a rental tenancy agreement for people experiencing sexual or domestic violence, to make it easier for survivors to flee abuse.