FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government announced today it has taken, and will continue to take, measures to prevent workplace violence and harassment.

“Your government has made gender equality a priority,” said deputy government house leader Lisa Harris. “That is why we have brought forward a number of important pieces of legislation and regulations to address gender-based violence and violence in the workplace, among other efforts, to help put an end to this type of behaviour.”

Harris said that the government caucus has held a number of sessions on sensitivity and appropriate workplace behaviour. The government will ask the legislative administration committee to organize similar sessions for all members of the legislative assembly, as well as staff in the legislative branch.

The provincial government also recently reviewed its workplace harassment policy and held an information session for all senior managers on the policy last December.

“We are pleased to see the Government of New Brunswick continue to take action against workplace violence and harassment,” said Norma Dubé, executive director of Women for 50%. “These new measures will help attract more women to run for elected office and become more involved in the political process.”

The government recently announced proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act which would allow for domestic or intimate partner violence leave, as well as provide job protection for people who leave work to care for a family member.

Last year, the government also tabled the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act to allow victims to apply to a designated official for an emergency order to obtain civil remedies to respond to their circumstances. In addition, the government has also committed to bring forward changes to regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to prevent violence and protect workers.

“The New Brunswick Nurses Union has been advocating for legislative and regulatory changes to address workplace violence for a number of years,” said union president Paula Doucet. “The union is pleased that the government is taking measures to address this complex issue. A new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act would help ensure that nurses and all workers in this province work in healthy and safe environments.”

Last year, the provincial government also established a joint steering committee made up of government and labour representatives to advance workers’ priorities, including workplace violence, while enabling economic growth and social progress.