New legislation to tackle workplace violence a step in the right direction

    TORONTO, April 20 /CNW/ - The government is to be congratulated for
acting on concerns raised by OECTA and other stakeholders to make changes to
the Occupational Health and Safety Act regarding workplace violence and
    "Workplace violence and harassment have been realities in our schools for
many years, but have not been recognized as an occupational hazard by the
Ministry of Labour," says Elaine Mac Neil, president of OECTA.
    "The amendments to the Act that were introduced today are
acknowledgements by the government that workplace violence and harassment are
unacceptable," Mac Neil adds. "Requiring employers to implement policies and
programs that prevent workplace violence and harassment is a significant step
towards creating safer workplaces."
    OECTA has urged the government to adopt changes to the Act for some time,
including the need to add a definition of workplace violence. In April 2005,
OECTA conducted a survey of its teacher members on workplace violence and
bullying. The Association submitted a paper on workplace violence prevention
to the Ministry of Labour during its consultation process with stakeholders in
October 2008. Workplace violence was chosen as the theme for an OECTA
province-wide lobby with local MPPs, in November 2008.
    Today's announcement is an example of how a positive outcome can be
achieved through consultation with stakeholders. OECTA will advocate for the
opportunity to provide input at the local level as school boards develop the
policies that will be required by the legislation.

    OECTA represents the 40,000 women and men who teach from kindergarten
through high school in Ontario's publicly funded English Catholic schools.

For further information:

For further information: Elaine Mac Neil, President, OECTA, (416)
925-2493 X 417, Mobile (416) 400-8324

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Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

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