New CFIA Workplace Violence Prevention Policy now in place

The Agriculture Union is pleased to report that a new Workplace Violence Prevention Policy is now in force at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. It immediately replaces the Policy that went into effect in February 2013.

Federal public sector employers are legally obliged under the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to provide a safe and healthy work environment free of all types of violence, including harassment and bullying.

Part XX of the Regulations specifically requires the employer to develop and post a Workplace Violence Prevention Policy that sets out its specific obligations, including emergency notification procedures to respond to workplace violence and assistance to employees who have been exposed to such violence.

The new Policy will be distributed through workplace occupational health and safety channels and will be posted on Merlin. Our members may view the policy by clicking HERE.


So what is the Employer’s Role in a Violence in the Workplace Investigation

We all hope to have a workplace that is free of harassment, bullying or intimidation. Unfortunately however we sometimes find ourselves faced with inappropriate behavior in the workplace that would meet the definition of “violence in the workplace”. When this happens it is the employer’s responsibility to resolve these issues with the employee as soon as possible. In the event that the employer does not or cannot resolve the issue, a competent person must be appointed to investigate the situation and provide the employer with a conclusion and recommendations.

Part XX of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR) defines work place violence as: any action, conduct, threat or gesture of a person towards an employee in their work place that can reasonably be expected to cause harm, injury or illness to that employee.

The COHSR defines a “competent person” as a person who is: a) impartial and is seen by the parties to be impartial b) has knowledge, training and experience in issues relating to work place violence; and, c) has knowledge of the CLC Part II and its regulations.


What Role does the Employee play in Choosing a Competent Person for a Violence in the Workplace Investigation

As a party to the investigation, an employee who files a complaint of violence in the workplace must be consulted on the person being appointed to conduct the investigation. The employee must feel that the investigator would conduct their work in an impartial manor. Agriculture Union members are encouraged to contact their union representative before agreeing to a competent investigator chosen by the employer. Your union representative can help you determine if the person chosen to investigate meets all of the criteria necessary for them to be considered competent.

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