In December 2016, OSSTF/FEESO established a Violence in the Workplace Task Force to consider the issues related to workplace violence and the most effective way to advocate for and achieve the protection of members. Too many members have been seriously injured due to preventable incidents of workplace violence, and our newly created internal task force hopes that, with the help of grassroots members, local leaders and local Health and Safety Officers, the risks can be reduced and controlled in the future. The task force has developed a working document that contains a variety of approaches to deal with workplace violence from its root causes to its short and long-term effects. The key component of the initiatives in the working document is to ensure that members know that their concerns about being safe in the workplace are heard, and that real action is being taken to address those concerns. The working document was shared with all local leaders at the January 27, 2017 meeting of Provincial Council.
The strategy calls for a multi-pronged approach to addressing violence in the workplace including but not limited to:
- Informing members of the task force initiatives.
- Listening and talking directly with grassroots members and leaders at the local level regarding local violent incidents and reporting processes through in-person interviews that are conducted at the District level, beginning in February 2017.
- Making resources available to local leaders and members by posting them on the OSSTF/FEESO provincial website.
- Notifying appropriate government and employer representatives of OSSTF/FEESO’s on-going initiatives and our expectations.
- Designating workplace violence the focus for OSSTF/FEESO’s Lobby Day at Queen’s Park on March 29, 2017.
- Creating a social media awareness and education campaign directed at members.
- Developing a public relations campaign regarding the need for an education specific regulation under the Occupational Health & Safety Act.
While a number of initiatives in the working document are already underway, the main focus for the month of February 2017 will be to conduct the first phase of in-person interviews in Districts 2, Algoma; 5A, Northern Shield; 6A, Thunder Bay; 7, Bluewater; 9, Greater Essex; 12, Toronto; 17, Simcoe; 18, Upper Grand; 22, Niagara; 33, District de l’Est and 35, Universities and Colleges. The task force’s goal is to conduct in-person interviews in each District over the next few months. OSSTF/FEESO will use all of the information gathered to develop materials and talking points for lobbying government, employers and the public to ensure that all possible measures are taken to keep members safe at work. Regular updates regarding the progress of the initiatives will be provided to leaders and members through local and provincial meetings, OSSTF/FEESO communications and social media.
Violence in the Workplace materials are posted on the front page of the provincial website. These resources provide members with an overview of legislation, members’ rights and responsibilities and examples of reporting forms and processes. OSSTF/FEESO will continue to update them and provide additional ones as required.
OSSTF/FEESO is committed to ending violence in the workplace for all our members through education and training, resources and support, and appropriate regulations and funding. Together, we can ensure that getting hurt is not part of anyone’s job.
Violence in the Workplace Resources
The Federation has a number of resources for members related to workplace violence and continues to update them and provide additional ones as required. Members are encouraged to check this page occasionally for more information and resources related to workplace violence.