Implementation of workplace violence legislation in Ontario hospitals

Reasons for the study

Health-care workers experience high rates of work-related violence, including physical abuse and harassment. Workplace violence legislation under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) directs employers to adopt measures to reduce the risk of workplace violence, yet recent inspections conducted by the Ministry of Labour demonstrated a number of inadequacies with respect to implementing these measures. IWH researchers are using a multiple case-study design to examine the conditions that support and limit the successful implementation of legislated requirements for the prevention of workplace violence in Ontario’s acute health-care sector.

Objectives of the study

  • To examine the measures organizations use to address workplace violence, as well as the perceptions of how these measures play out in practice
  • To understand decisions made about implementation strategies and processes used to prevent violence
  • To identify contextual factors (internal and external to the workplace) that have supported or challenged implementation of violence prevention policies and practices
  • To gain input about ongoing challenges associated with the prevention of workplace violence and strategies for improvement

Anticipated results/impact

The findings will provide valuable information to Ontario’s Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table and provide practical guidance to Ontario health-care institutions on factors that facilitate successful implementation of effective workplace violence prevention programs.

Project status


Research team

Agnieszka Kosny, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Era Mae Ferron, Institute for Work & Health
Monique Gignac, Institute for Work & Health
Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health
Lynda Robson, Institute for Work & Health
Sabrina Tonima, Institute for Work & Health
Andrea Chambers, Public Health Ontario

Participating organizations

Ontario Hospitals Association
Ontario Nurses’ Association
Working Groups of the Leadership Table on Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care

Funded by

Ontario Ministry of Labour