Changes to the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation will introduce new requirements to protect workers from psychological harassment in the workplace, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard announced this week.
"Manitoba now joins other provinces such as Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec in requiring employers to provide protection from such harassment," Howard said. "This builds on other measures that protect workers from harassment based on age, race or gender and ensure that workplaces are respectful and safe for everyone."
The amendments are the result of review and consensus by employer and labour representatives on the Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health. Recent studies have shown that about 40 per cent of the workforce has been subjected to harassment or bullying.
New provisions will address psychological harassment such as intimidation, bullying and humiliation. Normal and reasonable management actions, including discipline, are not defined as psychological harassment.
Employers will be required to put in place measures to prevent harassment and address it if it occurs. Manitoba Labour and Immigration will help develop and implement policies, and educate employers and employees on their responsibilities to ensure a respectful and healthy workplace.
Other technical changes respond to a recommendation made following the inquest into the 2002 death of a Manitoba worker at Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company and other issues identified by stakeholders. Amendments will provide clear direction to employers and workers on the steps necessary to eliminate or control workplace hazards, strengthen the requirements for the use of personal protective equipment and reflect updated standards, the minister said.
"I want to thank the members of the Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health for their thoughtful advice on these changes," Howard said.
Employers and employees have until Feb. 1, 2011, to become familiar and comply with the updated requirements.