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Section 815: Government of Saskatchewan Workplace Violence Policy

Date issued: 01/08/2001

Revision date: 22/06/2022

Purpose

This policy outlines the provision of a safe, secure and violence-free work environment through a commitment to effective prevention, intervention and resolution.

Policy Statement

Every employee has the right to carry out their duties in a violence-free environment. Violence of any type, committed by or against employees, will not be tolerated. The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to violence prevention in all workplaces, with the additional safeguard of a violence prevention plan in those identified as higher risk, including:

  • Prescribed workplaces as defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; and
  • Workplaces where violent situations have occurred, or may reasonably be expected to occur, as identified through the process set out in The Guidelines for Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment.

Objectives

The Government of Saskatchewan's commitment to minimize or eliminate the risk of violence in the workplace is demonstrated throughout Executive Government in accordance with The Saskatchewan Employment Act, and The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020. 

Principles

Workplace violence is proactively addressed through:

  • Following occupational health and safety standards, the Foundational Pillars Safety Management System; and the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace;
  • Effective incident reporting and investigation procedures and data analysis; and,
  • Timely implementation of Critical Incident Stress Management response, to provide workplace intervention, where applicable

Application

This policy applies to all employees of Executive Government and all workplaces where those employees carry out their duties. 

Incident Reporting and Investigation

All violent incidents shall be reported and investigated in accordance with PS 818 OHS Incident Reporting and Investigation. Where applicable, critical incident stress management response will be initiated.

Emergency response preparedness procedures, including calling the police, shall be followed where appropriate

Responsibilities

All employees are responsible, within their level of authority, to ensure a healthy and safe work environment.

Permanent Heads have the ultimate accountability for ensuring occupational health and safety legislated requirements are met within their respective ministry including resource allocation and a system of accountability.

Managers/Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Where applicable, developing a workplace violence prevention plan including all elements required by legislation in consultation with the appropriate Occupational Health Committee/Representative;
  • Ensuring timely activation of Critical Incident Stress Management response where appropriate; and,
  • Recommending an employee who has been exposed to a violent incident consult with the employee's physician for treatment or referral for post-incident counselling.

Employees are responsible for complying with the workplace violence policy and workplace violence prevention plan.

Occupational Health Committees/Representatives are responsible for providing consultation during the development and implementation of the workplace violence prevention plan. 

Training

Each ministry of Executive Government shall ensure employees are informed of emergency response preparedness procedures and supervisors/managers have sufficient knowledge of such procedures.

Where a workplace violence prevention plan is required by this policy, an employee training program will be provided and include:

  • The means to recognize potentially violent situations;
  • Procedures, work practices, administrative arrangements and engineering controls that have been developed to minimize or eliminate the risk to employees;
  • The appropriate responses of employees to incidents of violence, including how to obtain assistance; and,
  • Procedure for reporting violence incidents.  

Definitions

Critical Incident Stress Management is a workplace intervention to provide information following a situation that causes people to experience unusually strong emotional reactions that have the potential to interfere with their ability to function.

Emergency response preparedness outlines procedures to prepare for and respond to emergency events (i.e. what to do if you encounter a violent individual or receive a threatening call).

Employee of Executive Government means: 

  1. All in-scope and out-of-scope employees appointed under The Public Service Act, 1998; 
  2. Individuals on work-experience placements; 
  3. Volunteers working on behalf of Executive government; and, 
  4. Fee-for-services individuals and contractors providing services to the Government of Saskatchewan.

Foundational Pillars Safety Management System is a systematic approach to managing occupational health and safety and ensuring that, at a minimum, it complies with occupational health and safety legislation.

Manager/Supervisor is an employee of Executive Government who is authorized by the permanent head to oversee and/or direct the work of others. There are varying levels of supervisory authority (e.g. Assistant Deputy Minister, Executive Director, Director, Manager, Supervisor, front-line in-charge employees, etc.).

National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is a set of voluntary guidelines, tools and resources, adopted by the Government of Saskatchewan, intended to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work.

Violence means the attempted, threatened or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause injury, and includes any threatening statement or behavior that gives an employee reasonable cause to believe that the employee is at risk of injury. Violence includes:

  • The conduct, that meets the above criteria, of everyone at the workplace, including, but not limited to, the public, clients, employers, supervisors, managers, and co-workers.
  • Employees subjected to violence outside of the workplace, but related to work activities, such as but not limited to: off-site at business-related functions or social events related to work; in a client's home; and threatening telephone calls, texts, or e-mails received at home.
Violence Prevention Plan is a proactive safety strategy that includes the prescribed elements listed in The Saskatchewan Employment Act (section 3-21) and The Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020 (sections 3-11 and 3-26).

Workplace is an area at a place of employment where an employee works or is required or permitted to be present

Compliance/Non-Compliance

Employees not in compliance with this policy will be subject to discipline in accordance with PS 803 Corrective Discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Complaints Resolution Process

If an employer does not resolve an issue or address a concern raised by an employee or Occupational Health Committee/representative with respect to the health, safety and welfare of the employees at a workplace, the employer shall provide written reasons for not resolving the issue of addressing the concern to the committee or the representative.

The complaint process for an employee who wishes to raise a safety concern, shall be as follows:

  • In writing to the appropriate manager/supervisor for resolution.
  • If not resolved, in writing to the Occupational Health Committee co-chairs where a committee exists.
  • If not resolved, in writing to the Occupational Health Division of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.

Related Policies

PS 701 - Leaves of Absence with Pay
PS 701 Appendix A Leave of Absence with Pay Other Reasons
PS 803 - Corrective Discipline
PS 807 - Anti-Harassment Policy
PS 818 - OHS Incident Reporting and Investigation
PS 819 - Health, Safety and Wellness Policy

Resources and Tools

The Government of Saskatchewan's Guidelines for Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
The Government of Saskatchewan's Emergency Response Preparedness Guide
The Government of Saskatchewan's Critical Incident Stress Management Guidelines for Ministries and Employees
The Government of Saskatchewan's Employee and Family Assistance Program
Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board Arising out of and In the Course of Employment
WorkSafe Saskatchewan Foundational Pillars Safety Management System
CAN/CSA-Z1003-13: National Standard of Canada Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
Healthy Workplaces Psychosocial Risk Factors

Authority

The Saskatchewan Employment Act Part III Occupational Health and Safety, section 3-21
The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, section 3-11 and section 3-26
The Public Service Act, 1998

Policy Inquiries

All policy inquiries are to be directed to the Human Resource Service Centre.

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If you have any questions or require more information please contact:

HR Service Centre

hrsc@gov.sk.ca

Phone: 1-877-852-5808 or 306-798-0000

Fax: 1-877-852-9219 or 306-798-9966

2100 Broad Street, Regina, SK, S4P 1Y5

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