Workplace violence and bullying is not a new phenomenon. Instances of workplace violence and bullying occur more frequently than many would like to believe. A 2004 Statistics Canada survey, Criminal Victimization in the Workplace, found that 17% of violent incidents in Canada occur at the workplace. That 17% represents approximately 356,000 separate incidents of workplace violence across Canada in one twelve month period (and they note that the extent of workforce violence may be underestimated). Between April 2008 and March 2009 in Ontario alone, inspectors made 417 field visits and issued 351 orders related to violence in the workplace under the existing Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA).
Examples of extreme cases of workplace violence with tragic results are reported in the media. You may recall the Ottawa Transport Company (OC Transpo) case in 1999 where 4 employees were shot and killed by a former coworker; the 2005 Dupont case, where nurse Lori Dupont was stabbed to death at the Hospital Hotel Dieu in Windsor by former partner, Doctor Marc Daniel; or more recently (February 2010), the stabbing death of group home manager Larisa Belekova by one of the residents. Google 'workplace violence' and you will find any number of incidents posted. How many more are there that we don't hear about?