A guide (with posters & templates) to keeping your business compliant with BC’s workplace laws.
As a Fruitfull Office, you need to ensure that you have all of the policies and posters required by employment law in BC (things like a Bullying, Harassment & Violence Policy, Health & Safety Policy, Disaster Plan, and a handful of other necessities). By law, your company must have certain written policies, posters & documents on display, available for employees to read, or stored away in your filing cabinets.
Keep reading as we have all of these posters and templates created for you, and available for download in this post. Please let your HR staff read this for extra help in keeping your business compliant.
Communicable Disease Prevention Plan – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN BC
During COVID, WorkSafeBC required an Operational Plan in place from businesses to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. This included directives surrounding: masks, distancing, hygiene, etc. Now that the province is moving away from COVID, specifically, WorkSafeBC requires each business to develop a Communicable Disease Prevention Plan, which covers more than just COVID. Here is a sample template for your business to edit.
Anti Bullying and Harassment Policy – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN BC
All workplaces in British Columbia have to put in place an internal bullying and harassment policy statement, a training program for all workers and supervisors, develop both a method for workers to report incidents or complaints of bullying and harassment and investigation procedures should an incident or complaint be reported. All employers, supervisors and workers have a duty to prevent and address bullying and harassment in the workplace in accordance with the new WorkSafeBC policies.
What you will need to do
1. Understand what workplace bullying and harassment is and make steps to prevent it from taking place.
- As an employer, you must not engage in bullying and/or harassment of employees.
- You must understand what workplace bullying and harassment entails and you must also make steps to prevent it from occurring in your workplace.
- You are required to ensure your workers and supervisors understand what actions constitute workplace bullying and harassment, and what they can do to minimize such incidents from occurring.
2. Create a bullying and harassment policy statement (to be reviewed annually)
- You will need to ensure new and existing workers read and acknowledge your policy statement.
- Post a copy of the statement in a visible location in your workplace.
- Review the policy on a yearly basis to ensure it is up to date.
3. Create and implement a training program for all employees
- There is no specified length and/or time duration requirement for the workplace training program.
- All supervisors and workers must be made aware of what bullying and harassment is and what it is not.
- Workers need to be trained on how to recognize and respond the reporting procedures and how the employer will deal with complaints.
- All of your workers, including permanent, temporary, casual, contract and students must also be made aware of and acknowledge your workplace bullying and harassment policy statement.
- The training provided to all workers should include the procedures required for them to report incidents or complaints, as well as how those incidents or complaints will be investigated.
- You will have to ensure employees are aware of who they are to report any incidents or complaints to. The individual identified needs to be trained in the investigation procedures. All staff should also understand how an investigation will be conducted.
4. Prepare procedures for reporting an incident
- You are required to have procedures that explain how workers are to report incidents or complaints of workplace bullying and harassment.
- All workers will be made aware of the workplace harassment complaint form and its location in the workplace.
- Workers must be instructed on what needs to be included when reporting an incident or complaint.
- Reporting procedures must be reviewed annually.
5. Prepare Investigation procedures
- An employer must investigate all allegations of bullying and harassment.
- The investigation is a process to collect, review, analyze, and assess facts with respect to an allegation. Facts are derived from evidence provided by the complainant, the respondent, and witnesses, orally and/or from documentation. The process may also include inferences drawn by the investigator from the evidence received.
- The goal of an effective investigation process is to provide a consistent approach that ensures:
- Workers see complaints are taken seriously;
- Fair and respectful treatment for all parties involved in the investigation;
- Complaints are investigated thoroughly and in a timely manner;
- Outcomes are useful, fair and thorough.
YOUNG & NEW WORKERS – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN BC
Described as the most substantial change to the Workers Compensation Act since its inception, the new regulations governing young and new workers came into effect in 2007 and all BC businesses need to ensure they are in compliance. WorkSafeBC defines a new worker as anyone that is new to your workplace and young workers means any worker under 25 years of age.
Here are some examples of the new regulations all businesses in BC need to comply with:
- All new and young workers must be given a health and safety orientation prior to starting employment.
- Employers must document all orientation and training provided to new and young workers.
- Employers must have written safe work procedures to cover working alone or in isolation, workplace violence and emergency procedures.
We’ve put together a new starter orientation checklist to help you get in compliance.
- Notice to Workers Poster: WCB requires that every business in BC have this poster posted by the employer in a conspicuous place. It provides information to employees on how to prevent injuries, what to do in the event of an injury, how to claim compensation, and where to get assistance with a claim.
- Worker orientation checklist: This sample worker orientation checklist will help ensure that proper training is provided to your new employees. Remember all training must be documented and kept as proof for WCB.
- Creating an informal safety program for small business: This WCB guide provides information for small businesses (employing fewer than 20 people) on what a safety program should look like and has a sample guide at the end of the document. All new and young workers must be given a health and safety orientation prior to starting employment.
- Workplace Violence Policy: Employees who experience violence in the course of their work are covered under the Workers Compensation Act, and employers must provide a workplace as safe from the threat of violence as possible. This WCB guide provides an explanation on how to implement a workplace violence policy and provides a template for a written policy.
- Working Alone or in Isolation: Working alone or in isolation is defined by WCB as working in circumstances where assistance would not be readily available to the worker in case of an emergency, or in case the worker is injured or in ill health. New WCB regulations in effect require employers to have a policy in place to protect employees that work under these conditions.
- Basic Emergency Management Planning: All businesses are required to have emergency procedures in place in case of a disaster. This handout provides helpful tips and a worksheet small businesses can follow to ensure their business is ready.
HEALTH & SAFETY POLICY – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN BC
When you have employees, it is important to be aware of Occupational Health & Safety regulations in the workplace. You need a Health & Safety Policy that covers things like: hazard identification, disaster planning, muster stations, and what to do in case of fire, flood, injury, etc.
JOINT COMMITTEE REQUIREMENTS – IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN 19 EMPLOYEES
Periodically, WorkSafeBC Occupational Health and Safety Regulations changes take place. The following are important changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation relating to joint health and safety committees that took effect April 3, 2017, and are a requirement of any workplace with more than 19 employees. This gives unions and workers more opportunity to be part of the accident investigation process. The basics of these regulations are, however, that union reps do have the right to be part of the accident investigation and health and safety process.
These changes include:
- Amendments to the mandatory minimum training requirements for health and safety committee members and worker health and safety representatives
- Mandatory annual evaluation of joint committee effectiveness
- Clarification of what participation by employer and worker representatives in employer incident investigations involves.
CANADIAN ANTI-SPAM LAWS (CASL) – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN CANADA WHO ENGAGE IN EMAIL MARKETING
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) targets any electronic communication (known as a Commercial Electronic Message, or CEM) that could be considered to “encourage participation in a commercial activity” in any way. This is an extremely vague definition that could potentially target any email, text message or SMS sent by a business. The law came into force July 1, 2014.
Either someone has given you the specific authorization to send them a CEM (express consent), or you have implied consent, which is based on an existing business or non-business relationship, or personal relationship. Express consents do not expire (unless the recipient has withdrawn it), while implied consent lasts two years. Consent must be “opt-in”.
There is a B2B (Business-to-business) exemption for existing business relationships. This is essentially any situation where a transaction occurred between two companies in the past two years. CASL also allows CEMs to be sent to relevant “conspicuously published email addresses”, such as email addresses on business websites or on other public sites, without a statement that they do not want unsolicited emails. There is also a 3 year transition period for businesses to obtain consents for companies that have an existing business relationship with their clients, essentially to go from implied consent to express consent.
Content and Disclosure
All CEMs will need to contain “prescribed information” on the identity of the sender of the email (the originator of the email) and marketing firm (if applicable). CEMs will also have to include an easily-accessible and cost-free unsubscribe mechanism.
Record keeping and penalties
The onus is on the sender to prove they have consent to send a CEM. Businesses will need to keep records of express and implied consents, with date and time, type and expiry date of the consent.
These penalties, combined with the bill’s extremely vague and confusing language, have pushed many very small businesses to seek out new customers by phone and letter-mail rather than electronic messaging, which is anachronistic, and surely not the intent of the bill.
Some exemptions exist for specific situations, such as: quotes, estimates or enquiries; warranty and safety recall information and other information about ongoing use of a product or service; employment and benefit information, etc.
- Get your explicit “consents”
- Change your emails to include necessary information and ‘opt-out’ links
- Set up some form of record keeping
Questions or concerns can be directed to Industry Canada at 1-800-328-6189, or the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) at 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), or through their online complaint form found here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/
FIRST AID KIT REQUIREMENTS – CHECKLIST – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN BC
First aid kit – more than one worker but less than 20
If you have more than one employee but less than 20 on any given shift, your first aid kit must contain:
(a) 1 first aid instruction manual;
(b) 12 safety pins;
(c) 1 pair of splinter tweezers;
(d) 1 pair of 10 centimeter scissors;
(e) 2 pairs of disposable surgical gloves;
(f) the following individually wrapped dressings:
(i) 2 sterile bandage compresses, 10 centimeters x 10 centimeters,
(ii) 14 sterile adhesive dressings 2.5 centimeters in width,
(iii) 16 sterile pads, 7.5 centimeters x 7.5 centimeters,
(iv) 6 triangular bandages, and
(v) 2 roller bandages, 5 centimeters in width;
(g) 1 roll of adhesive tape, 2.5 centimeters x 2.5 meters;
(h) disinfectant in the form of
(i) a container of antiseptic disinfectant, or
(ii) 12 antiseptic towelettes individually wrapped;
(i) 24 hand cleaners; and
(j) 1 airway barrier device for rescue breathing
WHMIS – APPLIES TO ALL WORKPLACES IN WHOSE EMPLOYEES ARE EXPOSED TO INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH CHEMICALS
There is aggressive canvassing of businesses by companies posing as government watchdogs, trying to sell WHMIS training (such as eWorkplace Training). The fact is, WHMIS training is only required of those employees who may come in to contact with potentially hazardous materials. For instance, the employee responsible for changing the ink toner in the company copy machine is required to have WHMIS training. Recently, Canada has upgraded its requirement of WHMIS training to the new Global Harmonizes System (GHS). In light of this, many training companies have popped up, claiming that every company needs this training, and that they can provide it for a fee.
Vubiz provides an online WHMIS training e-course, that can be taken on an individual basis by your employees for free.
If you find you are having any troubles, contacting Vubiz directly for assistance will be most efficient, as they can guide you through the process with a high degree of knowledge – [email protected]
CANNABIS, DRUGS & ALCOHOL – NOT REQUIRED BY LAW, BUT WILL KEEP YOU FROM A LAWSUIT
It is important to remember that while the legalization of Cannabis is new, managing substance use and safety in the workplace is not. What that means is that we can more or less ignore the specific fact that it is cannabis, and we can boil it down to two scenarios:
- That an employee has a medical need for this substance, which is backed by a doctor’s note
- An employee does not have a medical need for this substance and uses it recreationally
If it is scenario number 2 occurring, it is fairly simple, a workplace with an Alcohol & Drug Policy will be able to enforce non-use or impairment though progressive disciplinary action, and ultimately terminate the employee for this use, if it persists in spite of warnings. If you observe erratic and unsafe behavior of an employee which threatens the safety of themselves and others, and believe it to be related to cannabis use, you must remove them from the situation. You can then address the issue with them in a meeting, where use and disciplinary action (depending on the situation) can be discussed.
If it is scenario number 1 occurring, it should be treated like any other prescribed medication. If there is no erratic behavior observed by the employee which is performance/safety related in the workplace, then there is no need to address their cannabis use, as the dosage was likely correct. If you do notice a safety issue as a result of their prescribed cannabis use, it may be due to incorrect dosage. You must again remove the employee from the situation, however, your meeting with them will go differently. You must keep in mind that it is prescribed medication. What this means is that the employee may then need to go back to their physician to adjust the dosage, so that safety in the workplace is not an issue. If it continues to be an issue, we can then look at the potential need for reassigning the employee to a non-safety related position, or if this doesn’t exist, we may then have to look at laying the employee off (though it will be wise to consult a lawyer first, to ensure that we do not infringe on any Human Rights).
We do not have a drug testing policy template for you because it is such a delicate subject and really does walk the line of potential lawsuit. You would be best to seek the advice of a lawyer as you navigate your own workplace policy here.
The issue with drug testing employees, especially for cannabis, is that there is no benchmark level at which intoxication and impairment can be defined (unlike alcohol). This means that if a worker smoked marijuana 3 days ago, it will still be in his system, but he may not be impaired. A business can ultimately require workers not to use it at work and before work (unless it is medically cleared), and we might even discipline and potentially ultimately terminate for violating this workplace policy, however, a positive drug test itself isn’t necessarily grounds for termination.