Addressing workplace sexual harassment
In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada responded to public and stakeholder concerns relating to workplace sexual harassment by proposing to invest $50 million over five years through two Department of Justice Canada programs. Of this amount, $25 million is dedicated to boosting legal services funding across the country to support complainants of sexual harassment in the workplace by providing legal information and advice to persons who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, regardless of their economic status. In addition, $25 million is set aside to develop a pan-Canadian public legal education and information outreach program to better inform workers, particularly those most vulnerable, about their rights and how they can access help if they have been harassed in the workplace . This program will ensure that Canadians in all provinces and territories have access to information that can help them identify workplace sexual harassment and avenues of recourse and decide on their next steps.
Four British Columbian organisations receiving funding under this new initiative are working on the following projects:
Migrant Workers Centre BC Society
In partnership with Immigrant Services Society of BC, Migrant Workers Centre BC Society’s initiative, Increasing access to justice for newcomer communities in BC on workplace sexual harassment, will increase access to justice for vulnerable newcomer communities through legal advice, public legal education, community capacity building, and agency collaboration. The Migrant Workers Centre BC Society will receive $910,824 over five years.
Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society
The project I am Safe will provide newcomer employees in Victoria, British Columbia with information on sexual harassment in the workplace. Additional outreach to community service providers will be undertaken to support employees who may be more vulnerable and hard to reach, including home care workers. Information on sexual harassment will also be provided to employers who employ newcomers to present the issue from a cultural perspective, and support employers to develop or align their policies to reflect their diverse workforce. The Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society will receive $361,974 over five years.
Community Legal Assistance Society
The Workplace Sexual Harassment Legal Advice Project will provide legal advice to persons throughout BC who are alleging sexual harassment in the workplace, including information and advice relating to the BC Human Rights Code, Canadian Human Rights Act, Workers Compensation Act, Employment Standards Act, Criminal Code, and other relevant statutes, as well as the common law. The Community Legal Assistance Society will receive $2,286,650 over five years.
Ending Violence Association of British Columbia
The Prevention and Response to Workplace Sexual Harassment in BC: Improving Access to Information, Reducing Barriers and Transforming Workplace Culture project will develop comprehensive, trauma-informed and culturally relevant training and public legal education resources for employees, employers, Indigenous communities, and youth-centered legal rights oriented organizations and services. An online hub will be developed to support public access to all materials and resources. The Ending Violence Association of British Columbia will receive $1,710,250 over five years.
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