Recognizing harassment and violence in the workplace

March 9, 2021 - Defence Stories

Do you know the signs of harassment in the workplace? Understanding the types of events or behaviours that are considered harassment is the first step in preventing it from occurring. This might not be as easy as you might think.

The new workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations apply to all Department of National Defence (DND) Public Service employees and Canadian Armed Forces members (CAF members) involved in an occurrence with a DND employee, or any person granted access to the workplace.

Under these new regulations, the definition of harassment is expanded to include a full spectrum of unacceptable behaviours, ranging from teasing and bullying, to sexual harassment and physical violence.

These actions, conduct or comments can be overt or subtle, and may include:

Harassment may also be a form of discrimination when it includes behaviour or comments that demean or that insult and offend an individual.

Employees are protected against discrimination and harassment based on a number of prohibited grounds, including: race; national or ethnic origin; colour; religion; sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status; family status; genetic characteristics; disability; and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted, or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.

Taking action to prevent harassment and violence

If you experience harassment or violence in the workplace, it’s important to report it right away. There are a number of support services available to all employees involved in an occurrence.

Sometimes, the person experiencing harassment may not recognize that the situation they are involved in meets the definition of workplace harassment and violence. If you witness an occurrence or see warning signs, don’t look away; report it.


Every Defence Team member is responsible for understanding their role in creating a safe and healthy work environment for all. Please take the new mandatory training, which explains your rights and responsibilities and how you can ensure every employee is treated with dignity and respect.

All CAF members should take the required training, even those who do not supervise Public Service employees, at their earliest convenience. This is because they may work with a public service employee or become involved in an “occurrence” with one, thereby having them subject to the new regulations. We recognize that not all CAF members have access to GC campus, there is ongoing work to resolve the situation. More information for those who do not have access is coming soon.

For questions regarding the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, please visit the following web page: New workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations for Defence Team Public Service Employees, call HR Connect RH at 1-833-RHR-MDND (1-833-747-6363) or email the WHVP Centre of Expertise at

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