THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, a child welfare and mental health services provider, with the headquarters on Fort William First Nation was found guilty of failing to assess workplace violence risks, stemming from an assault by a client resident at a group home in May 2022.
Following a guilty plea in Provincial Offences Court in Thunder Bay, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care was fined $80,000, accompanied by a 25% victim fine surcharge, as mandated by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is directed towards a special provincial government fund dedicated to assisting victims of crime.
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care operates a mental health treatment group home in Thunder Bay for high-risk client residents between the ages of 12 and 17.
At the time of the incident, the group home had two regular full-time workers that directly assisted the resident youth and several other workers in management, administrative and training positions.
On May 16, 2022, group home staff unlocked the office the manager shared with another worker, to allow a client resident in to speak with the manager. The resident was frustrated about an issue and verbally aggressive.
The situation escalated and the resident assaulted the manager. The worker, who was also present in the office, attempted to use verbal de-escalation strategies with the client but was unsuccessful.
A second worker entered the office and pulled the client off the manager, allowing the manager and first worker to leave the office. The resident assaulted the second worker, who got out of the office and held the door shut to contain the resident.
The resident exited the office through the window. Emergency Medical Services attended the group home.
What is the Law?
In Ontario, employers are responsible for preventing workplace violence as per subsection 32.0.3(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Their responsibilities include:
- Risk Assessment: Identifying potential risks of workplace violence.
- Development of Policies: Developing and implementing policies and programs to address workplace violence.
- Risk Assessment: Assessing the risks of workplace violence and developing measures to control these risks.
- Information and Training: Providing information and instruction to workers on the workplace violence policies and programs.
- Reporting and Investigating Incidents: Ensuring that incidents or complaints of workplace violence are reported, investigated, and addressed promptly.
- Emergency Response: Developing procedures for summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs.
- Support: Providing support to workers who have experienced workplace violence.
- Monitoring: Regularly reviewing and updating the violence prevention policies and programs.
Failure to fulfill these responsibilities can result in legal penalties and fines as it did in this case.