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It’s time for legislation!
Published: December 4, 2008
By: Dwight Harper

There is growing recognition that “violence” goes far beyond physical acts, to include various forms of psychological violence. Workplace violence has been broadly defined as “any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work. These behaviors would originate from customers or co-workers at any level of the organization. This definition would include all forms of harassment, bulling, intimidation, physical threats/assaults, robbery and other intrusive/ unwanted behaviors.”

Despite having legislation in four Canadian provinces, several Ontario MPP’s putting  Private Member Bills before government and two separate coroner’s inquest jury recommendations to review of the OHSA, Ontario has failed to enact specific legislation to deal with this ever growing workplace health and safety issue.

A brother from Local 222 (Don Grant), brother Texas Mac Donald and I (from Local 598) decided to launch a two pronged approach to put some pressure on the provincial government to act on the public’s concerns. We carried out two separate letter campaigns and sent a covering letter and resolution to all municipalities in the province, calling for letters of support for enacting workplace violence & harassment legislation.

The responses have been incredible, and today we sent almost a hundred hand written letters and thirty-five positive responses from municipal councils, to the Minister of Labour. Now you might say, “that doesn’t sound like much,” but consider this. The thirty-five council replies represent more than 200,000 Ontarians and we expect to receive more. (One that is on its way, from the City of Hamilton, representing an additional 400,000) When people who conduct surveys suggest that each hand written letter reflects the thoughts of a thousand people, the numbers become very impressive.

We care about our members and all workers in this province and we need specific legislation to protect them all. If you want to be a part of the campaign, contact the union hall at 673-3661 ext 26. Collectively we can make a difference!

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