Incidence of work-related aggression and violence in Canada

Reasons for the study

In 2004, almost one in five Canadian victims of violence reported that the violence took place at work, amounting to approximately 356,000 incidents of reported workplace violence. The importance of violence at work has led to the development of specific legislation and resources in most Canadian provinces. As part of a comprehensive approach to addressing workplace violence, we need to understand how often workplace violence occurs, which groups are at highest risk for workplace violence, and if this risk differs depending on the work context or time of day. This study examines the incidence and consequences of workplace violence using different population-level data sources and workers’ compensation data.

Objectives of the study

  • To describe the incidence of workplace violence in Canada, both overall and for particular demographic groups (e.g. men versus women) and workplace groups (e.g. industries)
  • To identify groups of workers who are at risk of workplace violence, and to understand the relationships between these risk groups, and to examine if risk groups differ depending on data source or type of workplace violence (e.g. sexual violence versus non-sexual violence, or workplace violence from co-workers/supervisors compared to violence from clients)

Anticipated results/impact

The results of this project will help employers, policy-makers and health-care providers develop ways to handle workplace violence that are sensitive to the different experiences of men and women.

Related scientific publications

Chen C, Smith PM, Mustard C. Gender differences in injuries attributed to workplace violence in Ontario 2002-2015. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2018 [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-105152.
Lanthier S, Bielecky A, Smith PM. Examining risk of workplace violence in Canada: a sex/gender-based analysis. Annals of Work Exposures and Health. 2018;62(8):1012-1020. doi:10.1093/annweh/wxy066.

Project status


Research team

Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Cameron Mustard, Institute for Work & Health
Peter Donnelly, Public Health Ontario
Steve Geoffrion, University of Montreal
Stéphane Guay, University of Montreal
Alain Marchand, University of Montreal

Participating organizations

Ontario’s Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table

Funded by

Ontario Ministry of Labour