FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick Women’s Council is expressing support for government’s decision to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to include violence as a workplace hazard.
Many jobs that present an elevated risk of workplace violence are caring labour jobs that are disproportionately staffed by women. This includes nurses, educational assistants, homecare workers, social workers, etc.
“Our province’s need for caring labour is only going to increase in coming years,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “Given this and that government has announced plans to increasingly shift health and senior care from our institutions into more community-based settings, we need to ensure that those who will be providing that care are protected from violence by the Occupational Health Care Act.”
New Brunswick is the only provincial jurisdiction that does not currently address workplace violence and/or harassment in its occupational health and safety legislation.
“The council applauds government’s commitment to develop this amendment in consultation with organizations that represent front-line workers in jobs at high risk of workplace violence,” said council co-chair Jewell Mitchell. “These organizations, particularly the New Brunswick Nurses Union, have long been advocating for government to update the Act to address workplace violence.”
The council has advised government that an implementation plan to support the integration of these changes into the Act and New Brunswick workplaces will be required. This would include ensuring that WorkSafeNB and employers are provided adequate support in order to implement required changes, as well as public education t to address societal attitudes that, too often, regard violence as simply part of the job.
The New Brunswick Women’s Council is an independent advisory body on women’s equality issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council 506-462-5142 [email protected]