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B.C. tables anti-bullying legislation

By safety-reporter.com
| www.cos-mag.com

The government of British Columbia has tabled amendments to Bill 14 which will expand the definition of violence and require employers to have formal prevention plans.

“Bill 14 is a significant piece of legislation for workers and employers," said Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid. "We need to make sure we have the legislation right and that its intentions are clear.”

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

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, according to the government of B.C.

“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," said Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia. 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 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

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