Equal Opportunity, Discrimination and Workplace Harassment Prevention
Policy No: AI-0003
Effective Date: July 26, 2000
Amended Date: June 25, 2014
Police Services Act (PSA), section 1, paragraphs 5 & 6, state that police services shall be provided throughout Ontario in accordance with certain principles, including “the need for sensitivity to the pluralistic, multiracial and multicultural character of Ontario society”, and “the need to ensure that police forces are representative of the communities they serve.”
PSA subsection 47(1) states that “if an employee of a municipal police force becomes mentally or physically disabled and as a result is incapable of performing the essential duties of the position, the board shall accommodate his or her needs in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
Ontario Human Rights Code, subsection 24(2) states that employers are required to provide accommodation unless to provide accommodation would cause undue hardship to the employer, considering the costs, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements, if any.
Ontario Human Rights Code, subsection 5(1) states, “Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.” Ontario Human Rights Code, clause 7(3)(a) states, “Every person has a right to be free from a sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the person where the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcomed.”
Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA): Definitions and Legislation
Under section 1 of the OHSA, a workplace is defined as “any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works.”
Section 1 of the OHSA defines workplace harassment as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”
Employers are expected to comply with the requirements of the OHSA. Some of the key employer obligations under the OHSA with respect to workplace harassment are to:
Prepare and review a policy with respect to workplace harassment;
Develop and maintain a program to implement the policy with respect to workplace harassment; and
Provide appropriate information and instruction to workers on the contents of the workplace harassment policy and program.
Employers are required to meet obligations set out in the OHSA as related to workplace harassment. Employers are also required to meet other legislative obligations related to equal opportunity, including but not limited to, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The employer obligations set out in the OHSA in relation to workplace harassment apply to police services. This includes harassment that police personnel could encounter during their work as a result of interactions with the public, between workers or from persons who have a personal relationship with workers.
Police personnel work in many diverse environments and under a variety of conditions. Employers are required under the OHSA to protect police personnel from workplace harassment in all police workplaces, including those beyond police facilities.
The objectives of equal opportunity in the workplace and discrimination prevention, are to ensure that the best qualified and motivated persons are selected for employment, promotion, preferred assignments and career enhancement through lateral transfer.
This objective is to be achieved by ensuring that no discriminatory barriers exist in the workplace, that no discriminatory practices or behaviours exist in the workplace, and that the human rights of employees and potential employees are upheld and respected both in rule and in practice.
Furthermore, where the discriminatory acts or behaviours do manifest, they must be effectively investigated and appropriately addressed.
It is the policy of the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board with respect to equal opportunity, and discrimination prevention that the Chief of Police will:
establish procedures on equal opportunity that are consistent with the principles of the Police Services Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code, including recruitment, selection, career development and promotion;
establish procedures on responding to and preventing discrimination in the workplace, including stereotyping;
ensure that no sexist, racist or other offensive or derogatory material is displayed in the workplace;
establish procedures on employment accommodation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and section 47 of the Police Services Act;
implement an employee performance appraisal system that includes key commitments related to diversity and human rights; and
ensure that all officers receive training on race relations, diversity and human rights.