New Regulations on Prevention of Harassment and Violence in the Workplace for Defence Team Public Service Employees

December 16, 2020 – Defence Stories

DND is taking action to ensure that every Defence Team member is treated with respect and dignity. As outlined in the DM/CDS message on December 10, 2020, the introduction of new regulations, known as Bill C-65 (42-1) - CLC part II, will come into effect on January 1, 2021.  These new regulations will help our department to better prevent, support, and respond to, those affected by harassment and violence in the workplace.

Who will the new regulations affect?

This new regulation applies to DND Public Service employees and Canadian Armed Forces members (CAF members) involved in an occurrence with a DND employee, or any person granted access to the workplace.  The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) has been tasked with addressing potential changes to CAF policies and programs. For the interim, DAOD 5012-0 Harassment Prevention and Resolution and the Harassment Prevention and Resolution Instructions (accessible only on the National Defence network) will continue to apply when occurrence only involves CAF members.

Strengthened Regulations and Guidance

The Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations for Public Service employees puts greater emphasis on employer accountability to prevent workplace harassment and violence, by determining and eliminating its root cause(s). Under these new regulations, the definition of harassment and violence is also expanded to include a full spectrum of unacceptable behaviours, ranging from teasing and bullying, to sexual harassment and physical violence.

The new regulations focus on supporting the employee, including a requirement for the employer to respond, record and report on workplace harassment and violence within established timeframes. Strong privacy protections are also in place to ensure that occurrences are treated confidentially.

DND’s Interim Policy: How we will support these regulations

DND has published an Interim Policy which outlines how the department will implement these regulations. This policy aligns with other measures DND will take to protect the safety and well-being of the Defence team. It strengthens our efforts to create real culture change, and ensure our workplace is one where every member is treated with dignity and respect.

To support this policy, a new Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention (WHVP) Centre of Expertise is being created under ADM (HR-Civ) to provide guidance to employees and managers, develop policy, processes and training to promote prevention of harassment and violence in the workplace.

What this means for Defence Team Public Service employees

This policy empowers Public Service employees by giving them a simpler, more efficient and accessible process to obtain support if they witness or experience harassment or violence in the workplace. The negotiated resolution and conciliation processes, provides employees greater flexibility to decide how they want to resolve their occurrence. Working together with their supervisor/manager or the Designated Recipient, every reasonable effort to resolve the occurrence will be made. At any point during the process, Public Service employees may choose to proceed with a prevention investigation which focuses on the root cause(s) and prevention of future occurrences in the workplace. The negotiated resolution and investigation processes may also run in parallel to each other.

In addition, employees will have the option to report an occurrence either to their manager, or directly to the Designated Recipient. An employee or witness can also choose to submit a report anonymously.

Managers play a critical role in this new process. They are the first line of defence in preventing harassment and violence in the workplace and are obligated to report any occurrence to the WHVP Centre of Expertise for tracking purposes. All supervisors/managers, including CAF members who supervise Public Service employees, have a responsibility to support affected employees to prevent further injury.

Harassment and violence prevention training for both employees and managers will be made available in the coming months and will provide additional information on what we can all do to create a safe and respectful work environment.

For questions regarding the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, please visit the following web page: New workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations for Defence Team public servants (Bill C-65 (42-1)), call HR Connect RH at 1-833-RHR-MDND (1-833-747-6363) or email the WHVP Centre of Expertise.

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