Canada Gives Employers Tools to Reduce Risk of Workplace Domestic Violence

WorkSafeBC (British Columbia) recently reported it would be releasing resources to help employers and workers reduce the risk of domestic violence entering the workplace.

The Domestic Violence in the Workplace Tool Kit is available online at no cost and provides advice on how to recognize the signs that workers may be affected by domestic violence. It has information about employers’ legal obligations, and it also contains recommendations and strategies to help avoid situations where domestic violence could affect the safety of workers and the workplace.
The tool kit consists of a handbook, factsheets, posters and other printable materials, as well as instructional videos. All of the resources can be found at: [WCx]
“We know domestic violence does not disappear when people go to work,” said Margaret MacDiarmid, minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government. “Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers from threats or acts of violence – whether it originates in the workplace or follows them to their workplace from home. This tool kit will give employers essential information and tools to help them identify and handle potential hazards that may arise from aggravated domestic situations.”
“The Domestic Violence in the Workplace Tool Kit will help employers develop safety plans for their worksites,” says WorkSafeBC senior vice-president of Human Resources and Corporate Services Roberta Ellis. “Understanding that a worker may be in trouble and may need support, as well as understanding existing obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation can help address risks of violence in the workplace.”
“It’s critical for people to recognize the signs of domestic violence early so that support systems can be put in place and victims can be protected from further violence,” added Detective Constable Michele McKnight of the Vancouver Police Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit. “This tool kit will hopefully not only raise awareness amongst workers but empower employers with the knowledge and comfort that they can play a role in keeping people safe from domestic violence.”
Allen Sawkins, whose partner Tony McNaughton was killed while intervening in a domestic violence incident at his workplace in January 2000, says he’s pleased employers now have more resources. “It’s vital that employers use everything that’s available,” Sawkins remarked. “Everybody deserves to be safe when they’re at work.”
WorkSafeBC created the tool kit in response to a May 2010 BC Coroners Service report entitled: Findings and Recommendations of the Domestic Violence Death Review Panel. WorkSafeBC developed the tool kit in consultation with employers, scholars, police officers, and related non-profit organizations. It draws from existing workplace safety legislation in the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:






Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.


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