Upstream, long-term and visionary thinking

Violence-free Workplaces

Too many workplaces still have not communicated the message that workplace violence in all its forms, including harassment and bullying, is not to be tolerated. Disparity in compensation also remains a serious concern with nurses who work in public health and community settings being unfairly paid less than their hospital-based colleagues. With an aging RN workforce – 27.7 per cent of RNs in 2009 were over the age of 54 – the challenge is two-fold: how to retain experienced nurses while attracting greater numbers of students to the profession. The answer is to create thriving work environments and career paths for nurses in Ontario.


RNAO Recommendations

Secure Violence-Free Workplaces

  1. Strengthen the Occupational Health and Safety Act to adopt an inclusive and evidence-based definition of workplace violence such as the one incorporated in RNAO’s Preventing and Managing Violence in the Workplace Healthy Work Environment Best Practice Guideline: “Incidents in which a person is threatened, abused or assaulted in circumstances related to their work… This definition would include all forms of harassment, bullying, intimidation, physical threats or assaults, robbery, and other intrusive behaviours.”
  2. Protect those who report incidents or potential incidents of violence in the workplace with explicit whistleblower legislation.
  3. Equalize power bases, which is a key contributor to workplace violence. This includes amending the Public Hospitals Act to transform Medical Advisory Committees into Inter-professional Advisory Committees, which would allow all health-care providers to participate fully and equally in creating a healthy work environment and excellence in patient care.