Workplace Violence

Workplace violence and harassment have been recognized as a workplace hazard and incorporated in the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) as of June 15, 2010. (OHSA, s. 32.0.1-32.0.8)

What is workplace violence?

Workplace violence means:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker,
  • A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

Workplace violence includes domestic violence that may occur in the workplace and would likely expose a worker to physical injury.

What is workplace harassment?

Workplace harassment means:

  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

Workplace harassment may include bullying, intimidating or offensive jokes or innuendos, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, or offensive or intimidating phone calls.

Why is workplace violence and harassment prevention important?

U of T is committed to maintaining a workplace that is free of violence.‚Äč Although workplace violence on campus is not common, U of T recognizes that violence in the workplace can cause physical and emotional harm. The University is committed to maintaining a workplace that is free of violence, and responding appropriately if threats or acts of violence do occur. All members of the University community are responsible for creating and maintaining a safe environment.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour requires employers to develop written procedures and implement controls to minimize the risk to employees of encountering workplace violence and harassment. The information provided on this website will assist departments in determining if prevention of violence procedures are required, and examples of control measures.

The University of Toronto has policies with respect to Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment, and has also implemented a Workplace Violence Program.