Violence Prevention


Date: 2010-07-14
Instance of approval: Administration Committee

  • Date : 2016-08-31
    Instance of approval: Administration Committee 2293.2
  • Date: 2019-04-17
    Instance of approval: Administration Committee 2385.4
    • Date: 2021-05-05
      Instance of approval: Administration Committee 2448.2
    Originating/Responsible Department: Office of Risk Management


    1. This Policy formally establishes the University’s commitment to the prevention of violence in the workplace.

    2. This Policy is also intended to describe the University’s process for addressing incidents and complaints of violence and meeting the University’s obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to violence.


    3. This Policy applies to all members of the University of Ottawa community, including but not limited to:

    • a) employees, including all unionized and non-unionized academic and support staff as well as those whose salary is paid through sources other than the University’s operating funds, such as grants, research grants and external contracts;
    • b) clinicians and physicians with an academic appointment; adjunct, visiting and emeritus professors; postdoctoral or clinical fellows; research trainees; and medical residents;
    • c) contractors, consultants, suppliers or other entities engaged by the University to provide services or goods, when on University property or while acting in a capacity defined by their relationship to the University;
    • d) members of the Board of Governors, the Senate and any of their respective committees, as well as members of any advisory committee formed to help the University achieve its goals;
    • e) employees of both unionized and non-unionized employee and student groups when on University property or while acting in a capacity defined by their relationship to the University; and
    • f) visitors, including visiting students and volunteers or persons who serve on advisory or other committees.

    4. This Policy must be applied in conjunction with:

    5. Policy 67b on the Prevention of Sexual Violence applies and takes precedence over this Policy if the circumstances involve sexual violence or workplace sexual harassment.

    • a) Policy 67b on the Prevention of Sexual Violence defines sexual violence as follows: “sexual violence” means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation. For further clarity, sexual assault includes rape.
    • b) Policy 67b on the Prevention of Sexual Violence defines sexual workplace harassment as follows: “workplace sexual harassment” means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.


    6. Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, the term “workplace violence” means,

    • a) the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or may cause personal injury to the worker;
    • b) an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker; or
    • c) a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker

    Workplace violence includes domestic violence that could cause physical injury to a person in the workplace. For example, a person who has a personal relationship with a worker such as a spouse or former spouse, current or former intimate partner or a family member could physically harm, or attempt or threaten to physically harm, that worker at work. In such situations, domestic violence is considered workplace violence.

    Workplace violence may constitute sexual violence. Refer to the University of Ottawa Policy 67b on Prevention of Sexual Violence, which takes precedence.


    7. The University will not tolerate acts or threats of workplace violence.

    8. The University is committed to protecting the University community and will take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker and prevent workplace violence. While students, volunteers and visitors are not subject to provincial legislation on occupational health and safety, the University abides by the policy statements made in this Policy in the case of students, volunteers and visitors.


    9. The University will assess, and reassess as necessary, the risks of workplace violence arising from, among other factors, the nature of the work or activity, the associated functions and the risk reduction measures in place.

    10. All members of the University community are responsible for maintaining an environment that is free from workplace violence.

    11. Every worker must work in compliance with this Policy and the supporting program.

    12. All workers are encouraged to raise any concerns about workplace violence and must report any violent incidents or threats, as set out in more detail in University Procedure 14-1 and related programs on violence in the workplace.


    13. Individuals can report instances of or threats of workplace violence by contacting Protection Services:

    In an emergency (for example, if an individual feels that violence or the threat of violence will occur imminently, or has been the victim of or witness to workplace violence):

    • a) Phone (emergency number): 613-562-5411. For areas not serviced by Protection Services, for example, leased premises, call 911;
    • b) Campus safety app: SecurUO. Be quickly alerted to emergency situations at the University of Ottawa or reach out directly to uOttawa's Protection Services when you need help;
    • c) Emergency phones: Located throughout campus. Press the button to contact Protection Services;
    • d) Panic buttons;
    • e) Public phones: Located throughout campus. Dial 613-562-5411 free of charge or press the pre-programmed button located under the keypad;
    • f) In person: Visit the Protection Services offices (main campus: 141 Louis Pasteur; Roger Guindon Hall: Room 2013; and at other locations on the University’s campuses), or alert a Protection Services officer.

    If it is not an emergency (for example, to discuss safety concerns or when the threat or incidence of workplace violence is not imminent):

    • a) Phone: 613-562-5499 (off campus) or ext. 5499 (on campus).

    14. Reports of threats or incidence of workplace violence are assessed by Protection Services, with assistance from the Ottawa Police Service as required, along with other University staff or University services, such as the Human Resources Service, Health Services, SASS-Counselling and Coaching, the Office of Risk Management, the Human Rights Office and Legal Counsel Office.

    15. Reports of threats or incidence of workplace violence are treated in a confidential manner and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.


    16. Individuals who engage in workplace violence will be held responsible and be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment. Criminal and civil proceedings against an individual might also be undertaken, and other measures that are appropriate in view of the individual’s relation to the University might be taken, such as expulsion from an academic program and prohibition from entering the University’s premises through the issuance of a notice of trespass.

    17. Individuals who fail to meet their obligations concerning health and safety are subject to disciplinary measures, in accordance with the University policies, procedures and/or collective agreements governing their employment.


    18. No individual can be disciplined, sanctioned or intimidated for complying with this Policy or for reporting a threat or an incident of workplace violence.


    19. This Policy will be reviewed by the University annually and in accordance with the applicable health and safety legislation.


    20. No exception or amendment can be made to this policy without the approval of the President.