FREDERICTON (GNB) – Regulatory changes addressing violence and harassment as workplace health and safety hazards will come into force on April 1, 2019, giving time for employers to complete any necessary risk assessments and put the necessary policies and procedures into place.

Under the new regulatory changes, harassment and violence are defined as workplace hazards that affect health and safety. Sexual violence and harassment, domestic violence and intimate partner violence are also included.

“These regulatory changes will ensure employees are protected from a wider range of workplace hazards,” said Health Minister Benoît Bourque. “The additional time before the regulations take effect will give employers time to put proper measures in place to protect employees.”

Bourque spoke on behalf of Labour, Employment and Population Growth Minister Gilles LePage.

"Harassment and violence of any kind are unacceptable and cannot be tolerated," said Douglas Jones, president and CEO of WorkSafeNB. “WorkSafeNB is committed to ensuring that all New Brunswick workplaces are free from harassment and violence and these new regulations are an important piece in accomplishing that goal. They are an extension of the health and safety measures all employers and workers should embrace in their workplace.”

The new regulations require all employers to develop and implement a written code of practice for the prevention of harassment in their workplaces. To help facilitate the development of this harassment code of practice, the regulations outline for employers the elements that must be included.

“The implementation of these regulations is an important first step in what we see as a long-term strategy to ensure all workers have safer workplaces,” said Paula Doucet, president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU). “NBNU has been advocating for these amendments for over a decade, and to see them enacted by government is a huge win, not only for registered nurses, but all workers in this province.”

To prevent violence in the workplace, the new regulations require all employers to perform a risk assessment analyzing the likelihood of violence in their workplace. Following this risk assessment, the requirements differ for different workplaces:

  • For employers with 20 or more employees in the province, they must develop a code of practice on managing violence in their workplace.
  • Regardless of the number of employees, employers operating a business in the following industries must also develop a code of practice related to workplace violence:

o   government and third-party service providers under contract to government;

o   health care providers;

o   veterinary services;

o   pharmacies;

o   education and child care providers;

o   police and first responders;

o   security services;

o   retail services;

o   delivery services;

o   financial service providers;

o   alcohol and cannabis sales;

o   taxis and public transportation;

o   gaming;

o   home support services; and

o   crisis counselling and intervention service providers.

Employers who do not fit into either of the two categories above may still need to develop and implement a code of practice on violence. This is determined by the results of the risk assessment on violence that all employers must complete and the requirements are outlined in the regulations.

The regulations and further information on the new regulatory requirements are available online.