The modernization of the Canada Labour Code is having a significant impact on federally regulated workplaces. Over the past year, the Canadian government has introduced several changes to federal standards including flexible work arrangements, vacation pay, employee termination policies, pay equity, and more.
One important new piece of legislation is Bill C-65, which protects against harassment and violence in the workplace. Bill C-65 introduced the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, which were published in late June. The new legal framework will come into force Jan. 1, 2021, just three months from now.
The new regulations apply to all federally regulated employers, including trucking and logistics companies that operate outside of their home province. These employers now have a legal obligation to understand and implement an anti-harassment framework for their workplaces.
Understanding the issues
Trucking HR Canada is working with Labour Canada to prepare our industry for these changes. This work started a year ago and included the following:
- Surveying more than 300 industry employees and 100 employers on how workplace harassment and violence affect them;
- Interviewing employers to probe further into how they manage these issues;
- Researching best practices in terms of policies and training; and
- Developing resources and training that will help trucking and logistics companies address harassment and violence in the workplace while ensuring their legal obligations are met, if not exceeded.
Through this work, we have learned a lot about what kinds of issues will be important for the industry as we move closer to the entry into force of the new regulations.
For example, we have learned that trends in trucking and logistics follow those in the general workforce. The industry’s harassment and violence incidence rate of 15% is similar to the Canadian workforce average (16%). Incidences of physical assault (2%) and unwanted sexual attention (2%) are also on par with Canadian averages for these types of incidents, according to Statistics Canada’s most recent General Social Survey (GSS) conducted in 2016.
That doesn’t mean that addressing harassment and violence is any less of a priority for trucking and logistics. In fact, half of the workers polled said that they have been affected by this issue over their career. And many of these incidents go unreported – meaning that employers may not be aware of the degree to which harassment and violence are impacting their workplaces. In fact, harassment and violence are more of a “workplace” issue than many initially thought. While many respondents to our survey believe harassment and violence are more prevalent at a client or customer’s place of business, incidents are far more likely to occur at their own workplaces.
Work to do
Part of the rationale surrounding the emergence of Bill C-65 was to make sure that all federally regulated employers are working from the same rule book when it comes to addressing harassment and violence in the workplace. For the trucking and logistics sector, there may be an adjustment period as employers adapt to new federal obligations. For example, half of the employers we surveyed said they had no formal process for preventing or managing incidents of workplace harassment and violence, and 60% did not provide mandatory workplace harassment or violence training for their employees. This will all have to change under the new framework.
As an industry, we clearly have much to do. It is time to fully recognize workplace harassment and violence as a key moral and operational concern.
Rest assured, Trucking HR Canada is here to help.
Please join us for an informational webinar Nov. 18 with an attorney who specializes in employment law. The webinar will brief employers on what has changed with the arrival of Bill C-65, cover new regulatory requirements, and discuss key compliance topics. Trucking HR will also provide details on training and other resources we have developed specifically to support trucking and logistics employers.
For those interested in learning more about how workplace harassment and violence affect our sector, Trucking HR will also soon be releasing a summary report on its findings. Check out our website for more details, and stay tuned as we bring more information your way.
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