Bill 14: The New Bullying Law In BC - Is Your Workplace Prepared?

Author:Mr Gary Clarke and Aleksandra Rennebohm
Profession:Stikeman Elliott LLP
 
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Bill 14 (the Workers' Compensation Amendment Act, 2011) introduced amendments to the BC Workers' Compensation Act, to specifically address bullying and harassment. These amendments are found primarily in section 5.1 of the Workers' Compensation Act.

As of July 1, 2012, an employee may have a compensable claim for a mental disorder if that mental disorder is a reaction to a traumatic event in the workplace, or is caused by a significant work related stressor. A work related stressor is considered significant when it exceeds the intensity and/or duration expected from the normal pressures or tensions of the employee's workplace: this includes bullying or harassment.

Bill 14 also eliminated the phrase "mental stress" in favour of "mental disorder", and included specific wording to deal with bullying and harassment as a cause of such a disorder.

WorkSafeBC, which is tasked with the implementation of the Workers' Compensation Act, has developed draft policies and accompanying discussion papers addressing the key legislative changes. These are available on the WorkSafeBC website.

WorkSafeBC is also currently developing a prevention policy and tool kit aimed at employers and employees to help in understanding, preventing and addressing bullying and harassment in the workplace. The terms bullying and harassment are not yet defined, however, and likely won't be until WorkSafeBC completes...

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