The government of New Brunswick is working with stakeholders to develop new workplace regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at preventing workplace violence and intends to have them in place by April 28. This date is the National Day of Mourning for those who have suffered injury, illness or death on the job.
“(The) government is committed to ensuring that all New Brunswickers can work in healthy, respectful and inclusive workplaces where all people are valued,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “Education and awareness are crucial and we will continue to educate the public, workers and employers on the importance of creating safe and healthy workplaces that are free from discrimination and harassment.”
The provincial government has established a joint steering committee made up of government and labour movement representatives to advance workers’ priorities, including workplace violence, while enabling economic growth and social progress. The government is also working closely with WorkSafeNB in developing the new regulations, as well as the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research and Workplace Abuse to better understand the issue.
“I am pleased that, after years of advocating for protection under the law, the provincial government has committed to amend regulations to recognize workplace violence as a workplace hazard,” said New Brunswick Nurses’ Union president Paula Doucet. “This is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach by government, labour, employers and the public. Public education is essential to successfully reducing rates of violence in the workplace.”
Violence in the workplace is considered a problem that goes beyond physical aggression. It can include threatening behaviour, such as throwing objects; threats, oral or written; harassment and sexual harassment; bullying; and verbal abuse, such as the use of condescending language.
While certain occupational groups, such as health-care workers, tend to be more at risk of workplace violence, these regulations will impact all workplaces.
“All workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I am proud to announce our commitment to bringing new workplace violence prevention regulations into force,” LePage said.