Did you know there are some policies most workplaces in Ontario are required to have in place? These include:
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) policy
Anti-Violence, Anti-Harassment, and Anti-Sexual Harassment policy
Health and Safety policy
Work Refusal policy (not required but strongly recommended)
Emergency Response policy (not required but strongly recommended)
At this point, you may be asking 'why'? We'll give you two good reasons!
1. They’re required by legislation.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (aka the OHSA or the Little Green Book) requires employers to prepare and review, at least once per year, a written Health and Safety Policy* and to develop and maintain a program to implement that policy. It also must be posted in a conspicuous spot in the workplace.
Per the OHSA, workers are allowed to refuse to perform work that they honestly feel to be unsafe and there is a certain process employers are to follow in this case. Rather than combing through the Little Green Book when a refusal occurs, it’s a good idea to have this process outlined in a Work Refusal policy.
The OHSA also requires employers to implement and post a workplace Violence Policy* in a conspicuous spot in the workplace and provide violence training. Employers are required to conduct risk assessments as often as necessary to determine the risk of violence at work.
Bill 132 added on the requirement of employers to implement a Harassment and Sexual Harassment Policy*, to develop a workplace harassment program, and to ensure all are trained on the policy and program. We usually combine this policy with the Violence Policy as there are many related elements, including a reporting process using a Violence and Harassment Reporting Form.
The Integrated Accessibility Standards (IAS) and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) require a policy be in place to address numerous factors such as accessible customer service, training, Emergency Response and feedback.
* these policies do not need to be posted in workplaces with 5 or fewer workers, but this can be ordered by a Ministry of Labour inspector.
2. They’re important!
It’s safe to say that the required policies above are required for a reason. We all want to work in places that are safe and healthy, free from violence and harassment, and accessible for all.
We’ve included the Emergency Response policy because it’s important too. Though it isn’t explicitly required on its own (except as a smaller piece of the AODA policy), we can likely all agree that putting some thought to how to best handle emergency situations is a good idea. We can never fully know how we will react in these types of situations, but having put some planning in will certainly go a long way to help minimize potential loss or harm that may result from these emergencies.
Not sure how to get starting writing your required policies? Check out our required policy package. These done-for-you policies will save you tons of time developing your own. Why reinvent the wheel, right?