Employers to Accommodate Employees who Have Experienced Sexual or Domestic Violence

The Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act, 2016, or Bill 177, had its second reading on March 10, 2016 and is currently being considered by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

If passed, the Bill will:

  • Amend the ESA to include definitions of “domestic violence”, “intimate partner”, and “sexual violence.”
  • Require employers to accommodate changes in work location and working hours for employees who, or whose children, have experienced domestic or sexual violence.
  • Grant a leave entitlement to employees who, or whose children have experienced domestic or sexual violence. Any employee wishing to use this leave must use it for specific purposes (such as seeking medical attention or meeting with a lawyer) and inform their employer in writing.

Under the proposed legislation, employees would be eligible to be paid for up to ten days of leave each year. For both the accommodation and leave provisions, employers may request the employee to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances that the employee is entitled to either the accommodation or the leave.

The Bill would also amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The amendments would require employers to “ensure that every manager, supervisor and worker receives information and instruction about domestic violence in the workplace and sexual violence in the workplace.”