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Thunder Bay group home fined after 2022 workplace violence incident injures two

Dilicio Anishinabek Family Care entered guilty plea, had not conducted workplace violence risk assessment
(Facebook photo)

A Thunder Bay group home operator was fined for not conducting a workplace risk assessment prior to two workers being assaulted by a resident in 2022. 

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care entered a guilty plea in Provincial Offences Court in Thunder Bay last month and was fined $80,000 plus the usual 25 per cent victim fine surcharge under the Provincial Offences Act.

Dilico is a child welfare, health and mental health and addictions services provider based in Fort William First Nation.

The court said Dilico failed, as an employer, to assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work at a workplace.

The offence occurred May 16, 2022. The conviction was this past Nov. 17.

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. 

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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.

According to a Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development news release, 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 attempted to use verbal de-escalation strategies with the client but was unsuccessful. 

A second worker entered the office, 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 scene.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation determined Dilico had a written workplace violence policy and program but it didn’t apply to workplace violence involving clients. The ministry further determined that the organization had not conducted a workplace violence risk assessment of the group home.

The court said Dilico failed, as an employer, to assess the risks of workplace violence contrary to subsection 32.0.3(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.