Was working at the front counter at an Ontario Works office. There were no barriers/glass
separating myself from the clients. The employer revoked the barriers because they felt it negatively impacted
client service. On this particular day, a client became irate and reached across my workstation
and grabbed my phone receiver then proceeded to beat himself in the head with my phone. He bloodied his
own face. It was terrifying and could have been so much work. I actually think I got off easy.


As a paramedic, we experience violence & potential for violence DAILY. We understand that there are
medical issues which can confuse and frustreate people in need of our care, but it does not make us
immune to violence or potential violence. Every day is different. Every call has the potential for
violence we attempt to diffuse, dissuade and avoid confrontation but still are subject to it regularly.
We’ve come to accept it…and that is NOT acceptable.

Minister of Labour, increase enforcement of workers health & safety laws. Ensure employers follow
Right to know laws. Ensure appropriate staffing ratios to manage situation before they become violent.


I had been working in a very small basement 1:1 with a violent (known) individual,
because it was a basement of a small group home, doors had to be locked at all times, requiring a key to get out.
When I was working he began to escalate, I turned to unlock the door he grabbed my hair pylled
me back and began punching me and kicking me, I then put arm up to contain my hair and he began to bite my arm
– I managed to struggle out, I left the apartment, went upstairs and called on-call supervisor
as it was after office hours, she told me to fill out an incident report and that was that.
I could no seek medical attention, finish shift alone and go back the next day like nothing happened –
incidents like this occurred at LEAST weekly for a year until I applied to another location.

Lee Ann

Being a long term employee with community living the numerous acts of violence towards co-workers
throughout the years are countless. Now that they are integrating more and more individuals with
“dual diagnoses” the violent acts are more frequent and becoming more aggressive slapping, hair pulling
biting, spitting, name calling, swearing, biting, kicking, grabbing worker’s body parts and not releasing
which results in bruises and marks being dug into the skin, throwing items. This issue needs to be dealt
with and more support for workers is needed.


Attending a call for service. Female in her 30’s. During a lengthy process to convince her to go to the
hospital she stopped arguing. During the process to move to the hospital she began fighting us. She
head butted my coworker in the face and during the ensuing melee she attempted to stab me in the
face on 2 separate occasions with my service provided shears, ironically called “safety shears”. This not
my 2st episode, nor will it be my last. I’ll be asking the employer for self-defense and/or situation
awareness training for years. Still waiting


I worked in the dialysis unit where patients at times needed juice for medical reasons. Some patients
didn’t appreciate the limitations/access to the juice. A patient approached me when I went to
retrieve juice for another patient and while my back was turned, he came up behind me grabbed
me by the shoulders and pushed me into the fridge holding me against the door as he took armfuls
of juice. He then released me from his grip and left and sat in the waiting room. I went to my
manager immediately who then got security and the patients social worker to explain these
behaviours are not tolerated. The responsibility of juice distribution got reassigned and moved to a
secure area.


Within the past 8 weeks I have been called a bitch, a witch, been spit on, been spit at, and had my arm
grabbed at fingernails dug into my wrist. I work as an RPN in LTC. Employers response to violence
against staff in our workplace “it was your approach”. Staff have stopped reporting incidents as
they feel it makes “no difference”. I am the H&S rep and the number of incidents that make it to
our meetings does not reflect what it happening.


I was attacked by a residents husband. I work in LTC and felt no support from my employer and/or
WSIB, I put in a claim of lost time due to PTSD. My employer said it was a part of my job and that
the husband was under stress with his wife being in there and couldn’t cope well. In fact husband
was in car accident 3 weeks prior, he admits what he did to me was wrong I’m still fighting WSIB for
lost wages, I also want some type of poster or speech put in our home saying we do not put up with
any type of abuse while doing our jobs. I was assaulted verbally and physically, told it’s a part of my
job!!! I look after our elderly I’m not there to be abused.


A lady violently twisted my arm snapping the ligament off the elbow. Was not supported at all by the
employer and incident was blamed on me. This lady was physically responsive and was being
medicated but apparently they had discontinued her meds but PSW’s were not made aware. The
admin at the time sent me home after 1 month of modified and said there was no work for me.
WSIB also denied my claim because I wasn’t doing modified work!! After almost a year of being off
work I went to the family doctor again asked to see a specialist because physio wasn’t helping. I
needed surgery. I needed to get back to work as my husband and I were losing everything we had
worked for! After surgery I was able to go back to regular duty and WSIB said I was denied any
payment because I had surgery with out their permission. After 5 years of fighting I finally won my
case and was paid my full year of wages. And that was with the help of my union!!


While doing a load of laundry on a home area, some 6-7 years ago, at my LTC facility I was chased by a
resident who was known for having flash backs to his war experiences. He was over 6’ tall and burly
and he was angry and threatening. I ran into a soiled utility room with another door to exit by. He
followed me, shouting something in german, and pointing at my laundry basket. I left the cart with
the basket on it and went out the other. He was distracted long enough for me to get to the living
room where there was a nurse. I was yelling while running. The nurse made no attempt to come
help me. She told me this resident does this all the time. She didn’t call a code white. They
eventually medicated the man. I don’t know if it was reported by the nurse. I didn’t know back
then that I should have put in a report….I know now!


I was repeatedly kicked and punched by an aggressive student, which has left me with permanent scars
and bone spurs in my shin. The same student also tried to attack and stab me with a pair of scissors
in the school hallway, which resulted in me having to disarm him and restrain him until help came.
This student was never suspended for his behavior or his actions, instead I was given 2 days off
work paid to “collect me thoughts”. When I returned to work, I was removed from working with
this student by request of his parents, making me to feel that I was in the wrong for all this going
down. NO SUPPORT! Shame!


While working with an autistic student with his speech language support done in a quiet room. The
student became frustrated. And became aggressive. The student picked up a hard plastic garbage
pail and was going to throw it at the pregnant speech therapist belly. I stepped in front to protect
her belly. He threatened to kill her belly and called her several swear words. I was able to catch the
pail with my hand but hurt my thumb in the process. I was unaware at the time to seek medical or
even complete an incident report* I have many other incidents that occurred


I was sitting at my desk in my office when a teacher escorted a student down to see a VP for behavior.
He picked up a stool and threw it towards my desk. I told the one VP I would not allow him in my
office again. She told me I had to. I told my supervisor that if he came back I’d ask him to go in the
hall and shut my door for a minute. He did come to my office when I was alone, so I instructed him
to go into the hall and shut my door. I refused work until a plan was put in place for my safety. This
is what it took before anything was done. I also get verbally attacked by parents and students on a
regular basis for things out of my control. I am a secretary not anyone with any authority.


To whom it may concern. I have been an educational assistant for close to 16 years. Prior to this I
worked at an institution for developmentally delayed individuals for 17 years. If I compare the 2
occupations, I have to say my colleagues and I face more violent action towards us in the education
sector than I ever did at the institution. Case and point: A collegue was kicked in her crotch area so
hard she was bruised badly. Student involved – remained at school with no consequence for kicking
her. Choking has also been a concern. I myself have been spit on, punched, kicked and badly
scratched on my face. Please give great consideration towards acknowledging publicly what
violence we face in the classroom. We do a vital job and only wish affirmation that we matter.


I unfortunately had several instances of violence in several of the schools I work. I am not spec ed or a
CYW but a secretary! I have irate parents spit at me and throw things at me on many occaisions
with NO intervention from admin. Our admin staff things this is ok, even to the point, where we are
counselled on being “nice and respectful” to angry parents as they are “ our clients”!!! I have also
been exposed to violent, nasty students who have told me and others in the office to go “fuck
myself” and thrown their books and binders at me! The outcome of these incidents is direct quote
from my principal “that’s what kids do” get over it. Very heartwarming to know that is how much
they care!! This is just the tip of the iceburg! It gets worse every year and I have been doing this for
30 years!


I have and have witnessed staff being spit, hit, threatened, kicked, items thrown at us and one student
would pee on staff. The worst experience of workplace violence that I have had was March 9th 2017
a grade 1 student had been saying for weeks that he wanted to hurt someone. His mother told the
school that he was a well behaved boy and she would not get him help. (she had been aware that
his behaviours were escalating) Staff were using zones of regulation, rewards, food, etc. to calm
him. He would throw chairs, climb on furniture, cursing, throw books. On March 9th, 2017 he
picked up a pebble/stone and threw it with force and it hit over my eye. I had swelling, bruising,
pain and the doctor at the hospital said I was lucky no vision impairment and I didn’t have a
concussion. I had to follow up with family doctor and optometrist (forms were filled out for WSIB
but I only missed 1 day of work because it happened before march break)


On November 2nd, 2015 after 9 weeks of being scratched, kicked, bit, pinched, stomped on and crawling
on the floor daily picking up the pieces of a trashed classroom I suffered a major assault by a 7 year
old boy. I was part of a new SAC (Social adjustment classroom) comprised of 5 children. Each of
them exhibited disturbing and aggressive behaviours there were 3 full time staff: Myself (a CYW),
another child and youth worker that was pregnant, and the teacher, also pregnant. One student
came with the CYW for 6 weeks. On November 2nd, after getting the boy to an emptied classroom
next door (except for furniture) he proceeded to assault me. This consisted of being hit, kicked,
punched, foot stomping. All of my training, CPI, was no match for this student. He countered all my
moves was quick and determined. He even looked different. I was doubled over at times, causing
an already stressed back more damage. I sustained this “attack” for nearly 40 minutes. There was
a principal from another school at the door who said and didn’t nothing until I said I can’t do this
much longer. She then got help. Like every other day I went home in tears at the end of the day.
But this time I saw a doctor. I was off for 7 weeks for emotional trauma and had treatment for my
back + shoulder. When I returned to work at a different school it was on modified duties.



No one should have to face violence at work, yet everyday this is a reality for CUPE members working in schools, hospitals, social services and many other public services across Ontario.

Work place violence is on the rise, and it affects us all.

CUPE Ontario’s Health & Safety Committee calls on the provincial government to take action now.

Read the full list of testimonials from workers facing violence in their workplaces here.