You may have heard of the new workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations that came into effect on January 1st, 2021 and that these regulations also apply to CAF members involved in an occurrence with a public service employee.
What you may not know is that these regulations aren’t just a new process to resolving occurrences of harassment and violence - they are also the first steps to building a safer, more inclusive environment.
How? Well for starters, the new Regulations allow for a more streamlined approach.
Previously, occurrences of harassment were managed separately from occurrences of violence, which overcomplicated prevention and resolution. The new Regulations consolidate harassment and violence provisions, which allow for a more simplified approach to prevention, resolution and support.
In addition, the new regulations alter the definition of workplace harassment and violence.
The new definition is expanded to include a full spectrum of unacceptable behaviours, ranging from teasing and bullying, to sexual harassment and physical violence.
These actions, conduct or comments can be overt or subtle, and may include threatening behaviour, physical attacks, verbal abuse or intimidation.
What’s more, the process for reporting harassment and violence in the workplace has been simplified.
With the introduction of the Notice of Occurrence form and the new Designated Recipient unit, principal parties or witnesses can report an occurrence in a matter of minutes to either their supervisor or manager, or the designated recipient (should they not feel comfortable reporting to their supervisor or manager).
The new Regulations also provide a more effective approach in reaching a resolution.
The new process requires attempts to resolve occurrences early and informally during negotiated resolution.
For cases when a resolution cannot be found informally through negotiated resolution, conciliation and investigation are other options once every reasonable effort has been made.
Finally, the new Regulations focus heavily on prevention.
During the resolution process, employers will not only work with those impacted to find suitable resolutions to occurrences, but will also work to identify possible root causes to prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future.
Prevention may also be carried out through workplace assessments, which identify possible risk factors of harassment and violence in the workplace and preventive measures to eliminate or minimize those risk factors.
All of these aspects combined are a step towards creating real culture change and ensuring the Defence workplace is one where every member is treated with dignity and respect.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone and help is available.
If at any point you require personal support, please contact the Employee Assistance Program or the CAF Assistance Program.
To learn more about the new Regulations and your responsibilities, ensure to complete the mandatory training available through GCcampus as soon as possible.
And for any questions about the new regulations, visit the new web page or call HR Connect.