All ETFO educators have the right to feel safe in their workplace and should be protected from workplace injuries by their employer. Your Waterloo local is committed to assisting our members in all issues related to health and safety.
ETFO Provincial has created a website that provides detailed information related to Health and Safety. Many of the most commonly asked questions are addressed and Waterloo educators are encouraged to make themselves aware of ways they can protect themselves in their workplaces. This website can be found at: http://etfohealthandsafety.ca/
The Waterloo Region District School Board is a partner with the local in health and safety. The WRDSB Joint Health and Safety Committee meets on a monthly basis and has representation from all employee groups. WRDSB Employees can find information about our board’s policies, the committee, and other related issue in the “Public Conferences” on WaterWorks.
Your ETFO representative on the WRDSB Joint Health and Safety Committee is Vice President Jeff Pelich. As well, ETFO-WR has a Health and Safety Committee which is dedicated to advising, educating, and training local members.
If you think you have been involved in a health and safety related incident, you may use our locally developed Flow Chart to assist in determining your next steps.
Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
Workplace violence, harassment, and serious student incidents include requirements from different legal and policy sources, and may overlap. Here is a quick look at some of these requirements with additional resources.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), employers must develop policies, programs and procedures to address workplace violence and workplace harassment. These requirements also include grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code. In practical terms, the required policies, programs and procedures for workplace violence and workplace harassment are demonstrated through, for example: information, instruction and supervision; risk assessment and re-assessment; safety plans and behaviour plans; getting immediate assistance; and reporting and responding.
The OHSA has been amended to include a definition of workplace sexual harassment as a component of workplace harassment. There are new requirements for programs that implement a workplace harassment policy. There are additional duties for employers to protect workers from workplace harassment. A Ministry of Labour inspector could order an employer to cause an investigation of workplace harassment to be conducted by a third-party person.
The OHSA has required duties and protections to protect a worker against workplace violence and harassment from persons in the workplace. That person could be an adult or a child.
Report concerns or incidents about workplace violence and workplace harassment to your principal. Expect that your report will be investigated and dealt with. Get in touch with your ETFO Local for support.
Under the OHSA, workplace violence includes domestic violence in the workplace with specific requirements for the employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.
Serious Student Incidents
The Safe Schools Incident Reporting form is required for student activities for which suspension or expulsion must be considered under the Education Act. These student activities include, for example: vandalism, bullying, and assault requiring medical attention. The victim of these activities could be an adult or a child who is on school premises; at a school-related activity; or on a school bus. The student activity can also be reported if it impacts school climate on or off school property.
The principal must provide the reporting staff person with page two of the Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form, which is an acknowledgement of receipt about the report. The principal’s acknowledgement of receipt includes the status of the investigation about the report, and should be stored with your records. When investigating, the principal may consider mitigating factors such as age or special needs when investigating the report. However, these mitigating factors should not interfere with making the required report. Sometimes it may be necessary to complete both a workplace violence reporting form and a Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form.
If you have difficulty finding or completing the Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form at your school, please get in touch with your ETFO Local for assistance. The Ministry of Education documents PPM 144 – Bullying Prevention and Intervention and PPM – 145 – Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour include further detail on reporting requirements, and both include the basic Ministry template for the Safe Schools Incident Reporting Forms.