Thursday, May 31, 2018

ACWS welcomes the inclusion of domestic violence in new Bill which comes in to effect June 1

  • New OH&S legislation supports safer workplaces and points to better supports for survivors of domestic violence
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters - The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) welcomes Bill 30 which comes into effect on the 1st of June, 2018, as the Act to Protect the Health and Wellbeing of Working Albertans. The Act, upgrading the Occupational Health & Safety Act, now specifically identifies domestic violence as a workplace hazard which all employers need to account for.

Christie Lavan, the ACWS Leading Change Program Developer said "This is the first time the legislation has included domestic and sexual violence in the definition of workplace violence. Given the high demands shelters face, and the prevalence of domestic violence in Alberta, we know this is already impacting business. The impact can range from a co-worker being distracted because of what they are dealing with at home, up to and including, an estranged spouse stalking their ex-partner at the office with a weapon. "

The ACWS Leading Change Program trains and provides consultations for business, government and non-profits about the impact of domestic violence on the workplace. The training offers support to employers seeking to comply with their due diligence obligations under the legislation. It also helps employers and employees recognize the signs of domestic violence and offer appropriate support to co-workers living with it.

Lavan observed "Intimate partner violence can easily arrive at the door of any workplace. Some Alberta employers have taken important steps to ensure the safety of their workplaces because they know that a prepared workplace is a safer workplace."

About the Act to Protect the Health and Wellbeing of Working Albertans

The Act comes in to force on June 1st. It defines workplace violence, whether at a work site or work-related, as "the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological injury or harm, and includes domestic or sexual violence."

About the ACWS Leading Change - Domestic Violence in Your Workplace training

Leading Change is the ACWS Call to Action to prevent and end Violence Against Women.

Since 2007 Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) has developed and offered Domestic Violence in Your Workplace Training for a variety of clients: schools, businesses, government, non-profits and communities. Past clients include the City of Edmonton, Syncrude, Enbridge, Bee Clean, Concordia University of Edmonton and Liquor World. An independent study commissioned by ACWS showed that domestic violence costs an average of $85,000 per 100 employees [Butler Business Solutions Ltd. (July 2010) “Final Report”.]
The ACWS' Leading Change program is partially funded by the Government of Alberta.

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