Saskatchewan

RMs urged to review workplace law as some don't have bullying policies

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities is encouraging its members to review their bullying and harassment policies and ensure they are familiar with the law.

Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities encouraging members to review bullying, harassment law

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities says the focus on bullying and harassment is not a direct response to a recent case involving the suicide of an RM employee. (Getty Images)

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities is encouraging its members to review their bullying and harassment policies and ensure they are familiar with the law.

SARM president Ray Orb said the association leadership raised the issue during a recent tour of its six divisions across the province.

CBC confirmed some do not have policies at all, and some are working to develop them now.

"We've been sending things out and you know, making sure that municipalities have harassment [policies] — things like a code of conduct, and they have a harassment policy as well," he said.

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SARM is also planning two harassment sessions for the fall of 2018 with the same presenters who ran similar training a few years ago.

Orb said the focus on bullying and harassment is not a direct result of a recent case in which the Workers' Compensation Board attributed a man's suicide to his employment at a Saskatchewan RM.

Focus follows suicide case

Robert Duhaime was a grader operator at the RM of Parkdale. A WCB investigation concluded that he experienced "interpersonal incidents that were excessive and unusual in comparison to pressures and tensions experienced in normal employment."

April 1, 2017, a snowy Easter Saturday. That's the day Brenda Duhaime thinks it all started going wrong for her husband. Robert Duhaime worked as a grader operator, clearing the roads in rural Saskatchewan. But that day, his grader got stuck in a ditch. And shortly after, Brenda says he started receiving angry phone calls from work. Four months later, Robert took his own life. And now his widow is trying to get answers. 27:30

The RM told CBC News it has a bullying and harassment policy, but Orb said some others might not.

"So we're encouraging them to do that and to understand what the laws are and things like that, and certainly we don't want things like that to happen — not in this day and age," he said.

Anti-harassment policy a legal requirement

Section 36 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations states employers must have a written policy to prevent harassment.

The Saskatchewan government website provides information about bullying and harassment but its Occupational Health and Safety department does not provide anti-bullying training.

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