A News Release from the Ontario New Democratic Party
Posted December 13th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Queen’s Park, Toronto— In the Queen’s Park Media Studio Ontario NDP Health Critic MPP France Gélinas was joined by Steven Barrett, Partner at Goldblatt Partners LLP and Sharon Richer, Secretary-Treasurer, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) this December 13th to discuss the need for her upcoming legislation to protect workers who speak out against workplace violence and harassment.
“Workers in Ontario hospitals have been clear that they want protection from workplace violence and their employers have ignored them. When they speak out about violence or harassment they are putting themselves at risk of reprisal from their employer. By including protections against reprisals in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, workers who speak out are protected,” Gélinas stated.
“The Bill I’m introducing this afternoon will protect workers in all settings from reprisal for speaking out against violence or harassment. No one should head to work worried about being assaulted. Even more so, no one’s career should be negatively affected for raising concerns about their personal safety or dignity”
“There is no question, based on our polling and a recent study in the Journal, New Solutions, that violence is rampant in our hospitals and that staff are afraid to report or speak up about it because of fear of reprisal.
We applaud the NDP for bringing forward this Bill. This Bill is a challenge to the provincial government, which has to step up with investments to increase staffing, improve flagging systems and reporting and infrastructure to make our workplaces safer. It’s fine for the provincial government to talk about its commitment to women. But women are being brutalized in health care and told not to mention that it ever happened. It’s time for action,” OCHU’s Richer stated.
Barrett, a partner at Canada’s leading labour and employment law firm explained “Employees should not have to fear employer reprisals when they report and speak out about the pressing problems of violence and harassment. These amendments will provide much needed encouragement and protection to workers in every workplace, including in health care, to speak up about the hidden problem of violence at work.”
The Speaking Out About Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment Act, 2017 will be introduced for first reading the afternoon of December 13th.
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