This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.
Approving Authority: Board of Governors
Original Approval Date: June 1, 2010
Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: February 15, 2024
Office of Accountability: Chief Human Resources and Equity Officer
Administrative Responsibility: Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM)
1.01 Wilfrid Laurier University (“Laurier” or “University”) is committed to providing a healthy, safe, and respectful working and learning environment that is free of violence and in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
1.02 This Policy formally establishes this commitment, which the University will implement through the Workplace Violence Prevention Program. The program provides measures and procedures so that reasonable precautions may be taken to prevent Workplace Violence at Laurier.
Several of the following definitions are taken from legislation governing the subject matter of this Policy. The legislation supersedes this Policy; to the extent the relevant legislation is amended, the definitions below will be read as likewise amended until such time as the Policy is updated.
2.01 Domestic Violence: Occurs when a person who has a personal relationship with a Worker such as a spouse or former spouse, current or former intimate partner or a family member that may physically harm, or attempt or threaten to physically harm, that Worker at work. In these situations, Domestic Violence is considered Workplace Violence.
2.02 Employee: A person who performs work for wages in any capacity for the University.
2.03 Intimate Partner Violence ("IPV"): Occurs between two people involved in an intimate relationship. It is a non-gendered reference, acknowledging the interchangeable roles of aggressor and victim. IPV is inclusive of all forms of relationships, e.g. hetero/same sex, married/common law/dating.
2.04 Member(s) of the University Community: Persons who currently live, work, or study on any Laurier campus or location. Members include Students (including Student groups), Employees, adjunct and visiting faculty, and volunteers at Laurier.
2.05 Occupational Health and Safety Act, RSO 1990, c. O.1 ("OHSA"): the Ontario legislation that outlines the workplace health and safety responsibilities of employers and Employees.
2.06 Student: An individual registered in a course of study as a Student at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or non-degree certificate programs.
2.07 Supervisor: A person who has charge of a Workplace or authority over a Worker.
2.08 University Facility/Facilities: All buildings and grounds, owned, leased or operated by the University, including without limitation outdoor playing areas, parking, athletic and recreational fields and all University residences and housing.
2.09 Worker: Includes all University Employees (whether full-time, part-time or contract) and as defined under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
2.10 Workplace: Any site at which the Employee works including any property or buildings owned, leased or managed by the University and any other place an Employee is located while performing work for the University or while representing the University in-person or virtually. This includes operating University equipment or a personal vehicle when the Employee is on duty.
2.11 Workplace Violence: is defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA):
3.01 This policy applies to all Member(s) of the University Community, contractors and visitors at all Laurier campuses and locations where Workers perform work for the University (e.g. including but not limited to work or academic related travel, research in the field, and university sanctioned events or activities).
3.02 For situations involving Workplace harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination, not covered by this Policy, refer to Policy 6.1 Prevention of Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct.
4.01 Laurier is committed to fostering a healthy and safe culture that is free of Workplace Violence in any form. It is the responsibility of every Member of the University Community to create and maintain a safe and supportive environment that precludes physical and/or emotional harm to others. No Member of the University Community shall engage in violent conduct or make threats of violence, implied or direct, within University Facilities or in connection with University business or the Workplace.
4.02 All Workers shall work in compliance with this Policy and the supporting Program. Supervisors are obligated to oversee compliance and to provide Workers with information and training necessary to work safely when exposed to the risk of Workplace Violence.
4.03 Any Member of the University Community that becomes aware that violence or the threat of violence has taken place or has reason to believe that violence may take place towards a Worker, must report that behaviour to a Supervisor and/or Special Constable Service immediately. Every effort will be made to keep reports confidential. Laurier will not disclose more personal information than is reasonably necessary to protect the Worker from physical injury. However, there may be instances where confidentiality may be compromised where it is believed that imminent danger exists or where an investigation requires disclosure to protect the safety of Member(s) of the University Community. Collection, use and disclosure of personal information and records gathered shall be in accordance with University policy and/or legal obligations.
4.04 The University is committed to addressing violence that affects the Workplace from all possible sources including Member(s) of the University community, visitors, strangers, contractors, domestic and/or intimate partners. The University will take appropriate steps to fairly investigate all reports of violence or threatening behaviour in accordance with the procedures relating to the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy. Following an investigation, the University will take reasonable actions to rectify the situation and protect Workers from the risk of ongoing Workplace Violence.
4.05 Member(s) of the University Community who are found to have engaged in threats, intimidation or violence may be subject to disciplinary action which may include, but is not limited to, termination of employment, expulsion from educational programs, and a ban from University Facility/Facilities. In doing so, Laurier will act in accordance with the rights and obligations established by collective agreements and University policies.
4.06 This Policy prohibits reprisals or disciplinary action being taken against anyone who, in good faith, reports an incident of real or potential Workplace Violence or seeks compliance with the OHSA, its regulations or this Policy.
4.07 All Members of the University Community involved in Workplace Violence investigations will be treated fairly and impartially to maintain the rights, privileges and protections afforded to them under legislation, University policies or applicable collective agreements. Workers have the right to seek remedy through the Ontatio Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.
4.08 This Policy will be reviewed by the University Joint Health & Safety Committees and approved by the Board of Governors on an annual basis.
4.09 Workplace Violence Prevention Program:
4.09.01 Supervisors will complete a Workplace Violence risk assessment as prescribed in to the Workplace Violence Prevention Program.
4.09.02 The Workplace Violence Prevention Program includes measures and procedures to:
a. Control risks identified in the assessment as likely to expose a person to physical injury
b. Summon immediate assistance when violence occurs or is likely to occur
c. Report incidents of Workplace Violence
d. Investigate and address incidents or complaints of Workplace Violence
4.10 A Worker has the right to refuse work if there is reason to believe that they may be endangered by Workplace Violence.