Welcome to the uOttawa violence prevention training!

Violence prevention training

The University of Ottawa does not tolerate any form of workplace violence. Everyone in Ontario, including everyone at uOttawa, is entitled to work in a safe and healthy workplace without fear of violence.

This workshop provides guidance on preventing workplace violence In 2010, the Ontario government amended the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect workers from workplace violence. This law applies to all provincially regulated workplaces, including the University of Ottawa.

“Workplace violence” means:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
  • A statement or behaviour that a worker can reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker in a workplace that could cause physical injury to the worker 

Learning objectives

By the conclusion of this online workshop, you will:

  • Be able to define workplace violence;
  • Be able to recognize situations of workplace violence;
  • Understand your responsibilities and those of others;
  • Know how to reach emergency services at the University of Ottawa;
  • Be knowledgeable of the resources available for the prevention of workplace violence


As an employer, the University of Ottawa shall:

Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Maintaining a healthy and safe work environment, which includes preventing workplace violence, in the area for which they are accountable. In situations outside of their authority or control, the supervisor is responsible for referring matters to the appropriate University authority or service.
  • Providing workers with information related to a risk of workplace violence arising from a person with a history of violent behaviour. This includes personal information to the extent required to reasonably protect workers.
  • Participating in the development and implementation of specific workplace violence control measures (as required).

Workers are responsible for:

  • Reporting situations of workplace violence to the appropriate University authority or service (i.e. Protection Services, their supervisor or representative, etc.).
  • Participating in the development and implementation of specific workplace violence control measures (as required)


The violence prevention program includes provisions and measures to:

  • Summon immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur: 
    • When on campus, employees should dial ext. 5411 to contact Protection Services (cell: 613-562-5411)
    • When off campus (i.e., 1 Nicholas, Library Annex, 99 Bank), employees should dial 9-1-1 to contact City of Ottawa Emergency Services
  • Control risks identified in a workplace violence risk assessment. The University of Ottawa has conducted a risk assessment of activities and has produced a risk matrix (refer to the program). The document briefly summarizes related activities, describes current mitigation measures and their effectiveness, and provides a risk evaluation.

In addition, the University is required to develop measures and procedures outlining how it will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints of workplace violence. These are included in the hazard reporting procedure (PDF, 494KB) and the workplace violence prevention program (PDF, 592KB).

Domestic violence

Employers who are aware of, or ought reasonably to be aware of, incidents or threats of domestic violence that could occur in the workplace must take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker at risk as well as other workers. This may include a number of actions that will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Workers can report their concerns to the University – via Protection Services – if they feel domestic violence may occur in the workplace. The University manages reported situations on a case-by -case basis.

Such situations may occur in the workplace or may be reported by a co-worker or another party. The University of Ottawa may also become aware of workplace violence through other means, such as threatening emails and/or phone calls received at work, or unwelcome visits at the workplace.

Under Ontario legislation, even if a worker does not want any action taken, uOttawa may still be required to take action to protect the targeted worker, as well as other workers, depending on the circumstances. The University of Ottawa will work closely with the worker(s) involved to develop reasonable precautions to address the situation while taking measures to respect the worker’s privacy and the sensitivity of the issue.


If a worker expects to encounter a person with a history of violent behaviour at work, and if the worker may be at risk of physical injury, employers and supervisors must provide information to the worker about the risk of workplace violence. The University of Ottawa will provide information to other workers about individuals who have a history of violent behaviour – to the extent required by law, including personal information – if the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of his/her work and if the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury. The University of Ottawa will not disclose more personal information than necessary to protect a worker from physical injury.

Work refusals

There is a limited right to refuse unsafe work in certain occupations. For example, workers cannot refuse work if the danger is inherent or a normal part of the job and the refusal would endanger the life, health or safety of another person. Workers at uOttawa have the right to refuse work if they have reason to believe they are in danger due to workplace violence. The employer is prohibited from reprisal if an employee refuses work for fear of workplace violence.

A worker initiating a work refusal because of workplace violence must contact Protection Services at ext. 5411. The worker must remain in a safe place as near as reasonably possible to his or her workstation while the employer, or the Ministry of Labour, conducts an investigation. The location depends on the circumstances that led to the work refusal.

A worker may refuse to work based on a threat if the threat is one to exercise force that could cause physical injury to the worker, or could be reasonably interpreted as such. Workers who receive threats that do not cause them to fear for their personal safety must still report the situation to Protection Services.


Whether or not they refuse work, workers should report incidents of workplace violence to their supervisor or to Protection Services. The University will investigate and take reasonable steps necessary to protect workers from situations of workplace violence.

Additional resources

You can find additional information on the prevention of workplace violence from the following sources:

Ready? Let's go!