Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention

Workplace Violence in Continuing Care

In recent years, the health care sector has witnessed an increase in the occurrence of violence and aggressive acts towards staff. In fact, over the last 5 years, “assaults/violent acts/harassment’ remains one of the top 5 types of injuries reported to WCB in both long-term care and senior supportive living industries (See the latest report).

According to a report published by Statistics Canada, 34% of nurses working in hospitals or long-term care facilities reported physical assault from a resident over a one-year period and 47% reported emotional abuse during that same timeframe. The report also noted that the clinical area of practice made a difference in the reported incidents, with those working in long-term care and geriatrics reporting the highest at 50%.

Though statistical information is often contingent on many variables, evidence suggests that the risk to health care workers experiencing violent, aggressive, or harassing behaviour is nine times greater than in any other industry. In the continuing care sector, anecdotal evidence also suggests as the population ages and the continuing care sector continues to grow, so will the number of incidents.

Standards and Best Practice

Alberta OHS Legislation

The OHS Act and Code requires employers in Alberta to assess the risks of workplace violence, and to put in place a policy and a prevention program. 

Fast Facts

Accreditation Standards

Workplace Violence Prevention is a Required Organizational Practice (ROP). A strategy to prevent workplace violence should be in compliance with applicable provincial or territorial legislation and is an important step to respond to the growing concern about violence in health care workplaces.

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Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group

CSA Z1002-12: Occupational Health & Safety Hazard Identification, Elimination, and Risk Assessment & Control sets the foundation for adequate risk assessment process.

Assessing the risk of violence in different settings and targeting interventions based on the identified risks results in positive change and lower worker injury rates, regardless of the intervention.

CCSA Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Program

The CCSA aims to reduce the injury rates in continuing care and senior supportive living industries by providing targeted resources to promote the adoption of effective violence prevention initiatives; prevent incidents or injuries caused by violence and acts of aggression, and build a more robust culture of safety. The CCSA also aims to guide our members in building their organization’s Violence and Harassment Prevention Program through focused consultations and collaboration.

PSHSA Violence, Aggression, and Responsive Behavior (VARB) Tools

On May 15, 201 the Ontario Ministry of Labour released “The Workplace Violence Prevention in Healthcare Leadership Table Report”. This report provided recommendations from healthcare stakeholders, and will allow Ontario to lead the way with producing resources to prevent violence in the Healthcare Sector. It recommended the use of Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA)’s tools to provide workplaces with a consistent, scalable and consensus-based approach.  CCSA has adapted these violence and aggression prevention tools and resources and we acknowledge the hard work he PSHSA has done in the development and sharing of these valuable resources for our members in the Alberta Continuing Care Industry. 

The Five Step Process to building or evaluating your Workplace Violence Prevention Program:

Addressing Violence and Harassment in your Organization

Where Do I Start?

Explore the 5 Steps

This is a self-directed approach following leading practices linked to the 5 Steps Process. Access the tools and resources provided to build, evaluate and enhance your own program.
Learn More

Ask a Consultant

CCSA Guided Support

A CCSA Consultant will help to determine how your specific site should proceed and will assist in implementing the comprehensive Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention program including training.
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Ontario's PSHSA Violence and Aggression Resources Terms of Use

Accessing the PSHSA violence prevention materials for use in the Province of Alberta is with the agreement that the terms and conditions will be met under the license agreement between PSHSA and the CCSA.  

The resources in the CCSA Violent and Harassment Prevention Program are aligned with the content from PSHSA violence prevention materials. These documents and resources may have references to the Ontario context and legislative requirements specific to the Province of Ontario. Though the CCSA has adapted these for use in Alberta, users of these resources are still advised to reference the Alberta OHS legislation.

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Accreditation Canada Required Organizational Practices (2020) - Workplace Violence Prevention

A documented and coordinated approach to prevent workplace violence is implemented.
Accreditation Canada has adopted the modified International Labour Organization definition of workplace violence, as follows: “Incidents in which a person is threatened, abused or assaulted in circumstances related to their work, including all forms of harassment, bullying, intimidation, physical threats, or assaults, robbery or other intrusive behaviours. These behaviours could originate from customers or co-workers, at any level of the organization.”    
      The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario describes four classifications of workplace violence:
  • Type I (Criminal Intent): Perpetrator has no relationship to the workplace.
  • Type II (Client or Customer): Perpetrator is a client, visitor, or family member of a client at the workplace who becomes violent toward a worker or another client.
  • Type III (Worker-to-worker): Perpetrator is an employee or past employee of the workplace.
  • Type IV (Personal Relationship): Perpetrator has a relationship with an employee (e.g., domestic violence in the workplace).
A strategy to prevent workplace violence should be in compliance with applicable provincial or territorial legislation, and is an important step to respond to the growing concern about violence in health care workplaces.
Test for Compliance
  • There is a written workplace violence prevention policy.
  • The policy is developed in consultation with team members and volunteers as appropriate.
  • The policy names the individual(s) or position responsible for implementing and monitoring adherence to the policy.
  • Risk assessments are conducted to ascertain the risk of workplace violence.
  • There are procedures to investigate and respond to incidents of workplace violence.
  • There are procedures for team members to confidentially report incidents of workplace violence.
  • The organization’s leaders review quarterly reports of incidents of workplace violence and use this information to improve safety, reduce incidents of violence, and improve the workplace violence prevention policy.
  • Information and training is provided to team members on the prevention of workplace violence.

Resources: Required Organizational Practices 2020 Handbook. Qmentum. For on-site surveys starting January 2021


A CCSA Consultant will coordinate with your organization to conduct a comprehensive violence hazard risk assessment and program review and support you in building a Violence and Harassment Prevention Plan and Program that follows best practices, quality standards, and appropriate legislation. 

Download the CCSA Workplace Violence Program Review Process here.
*Our CCSA Guided Support is coming soon. We will announce this as this service becomes available. In the meantime, you can contact us with any questions.

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