BATHURST (GNB) – The provincial government today proposed regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at preventing workplace violence and harassment.

“Your government recognizes workplace violence and harassment is a serious issue,” said Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage. “We will continue to work closely with our partners and other stakeholders to continue educating the public, workers and employers on the importance of creating safe and healthy workplaces that are free from discrimination and harassment.”

The proposed regulations have been posted for public review until May 16. Anyone wishing to review or comment on them may visit the Public Review of Draft Regulations webpage.

Last November, the provincial government established a steering committee to build stronger relationships between government and the labour movement and to identify areas of co-operation.

Violence and harassment 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.

“It is important that everybody has the right to do their job without being concerned for their safety, and that workplace accidents are preventable,” said LePage while participating in an event in recognition of the National Day of Mourning. “It is imperative that employers and employees continue to work together in order to prevent worker injuries and deaths. Today, on the National Day of Mourning, we take a moment to recognize those who have been injured or who have lost their lives on the job.”

“Today, not only do we remember those who have fallen and support their families, but we also come together to show our dedication towards improving health and safety provisions and their enforcement,” said Patrick Colford, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour. “Every New Brunswicker deserves to come home at the end of their work day healthy and safe.”

The National Day of Mourning was launched in 1984 by the Canadian Labour Congress and was adopted as a day of national observance in 1991. Canada joins more than 100 countries in recognizing April 28 as the National Day of Mourning. Across Canada, events will be held in workplaces and communities to honour lives lost and to raise awareness of the importance of health and safety in the workplace.