Government of Canada releases report on harassment and sexual violence consultations
November 2, 2017 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
Harassment and sexual violence are unacceptable. Period. The Government of Canada made a commitment to Canadians to take action to ensure that federal workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from these types of behaviours.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced the release of the ‘Harassment and Sexual Violence: What We Heard’ Report, which summarizes the results of the government’s consultations with Canadians.
The results of the consultations confirm the need to take action. Canadians indicated that incidents of harassment and sexual violence in the workplace are not only underreported, but also that they are often dealt with ineffectively when they are reported. Discussions with stakeholders and experts provided insight on how to address these and other issues. Members of Parliament and Senators were also consulted to ensure the government can fulfill its commitment to making Parliament a workplace free from harassment and sexual violence.
Harassment and sexual violence in the workplace negatively impact not only the person experiencing these behaviors, but also their families, coworkers, and their employers.
The government is committed to taking meaningful action to address the full spectrum of harassment and sexual violence at work, and we will announce next steps in the near future. But no government can do this alone. We live in a culture where power imbalances and gender norms create tolerance for these kinds of unacceptable behaviours. It will take all of us – employers, employees, citizens – to change this culture.
"Over the course of my career, I have worked with many people who have survived the physical, psychological and practical consequences stemming from harassment and sexual violence. I have seen the effects it has on their lives, and on communities. I am grateful to those who have shared their experiences and perspectives with us; that input is invaluable as we work toward our next steps, which will be announced soon.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
“Harassment and sexual violence in the workplace are preventable and need to end. We need to lead by example. I’m proud of the work we’re doing to make that happen, and I would like to thank everyone who participated in these consultations. Your insights and your stories, some of which are deeply personal, have been essential to the development of a plan to end this type of behaviour.”
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women
“The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining a work environment where all employees are treated with dignity and respect. Harassment and violence are unacceptable, and our government is working to ensure that all workplaces, including the public service, are safe for employees.”
– The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada
According to the Federal Jurisdiction Workplace Survey, there were 295 formal complaints of sexual harassment brought to the attention of the employer in 2015. About 80% of the complaints were from women. There were 1,601 reported incidents of violence in 2015; 60% of injured or targeted employees were men.
Online survey respondents reported that harassment (of a non-sexual nature) was the most common type of behaviour, with 60% having experienced it. Sexual harassment was experienced by 30%, violence by 21% and sexual violence by 3%.
During the consultations, stakeholders raised the importance of looking at harassment from the perspective of gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination. Among survey respondents, 94% of those who reported experiencing sexual harassment were women, while people with disabilities and members of a visible minority were more likely to experience harassment than other groups.
Under‑reporting and insufficient data on workplace harassment and violence were identified as major issues that should be addressed in any new framework. Stakeholders agreed that to reduce workplace harassment and violence and speed up resolution, data should be collected to track results, and privacy of the data collected must be ensured.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
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