Canadians invited to have their say on proposed regulations against harassment and violence in the workplace
July 24, 2018 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Harassment and sexual violence of any kind are unacceptable – period. The Government of Canada made a commitment to Canadians to help ensure that federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and sexual violence. Today, the government is taking the next step toward a strengthened federal framework to protect workers and support employers.
Bill C-65, an Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, is currently before Parliament. The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, is inviting Canadians to voice their opinion on the proposed regulatory framework to be implemented should Bill C-65 become law.
Among other things, the proposed regulations will outline the essential elements of a workplace harassment and violence prevention policy, as well as the procedures that will be required to be in place to respond to incidents of harassment and violence if and when they do occur, including:
- third-party incidents (example: employee harassed by a client);
- the qualifications of a competent person to investigate and provide recommendations;
- employer obligations to implement corrective measures in response to the investigation report of a competent person:
- the role of the workplace committee; and
- support to be provided to employees who have experienced workplace harassment and violence.
All Canadians are encouraged to participate in the online consultation, which will be open until October 5th, 2018. The government is also consulting with representatives from key sectors and groups through a series of roundtables. Feedback gathered through the survey and the roundtables will shape and influence the new regulatory framework and help ensure its effectiveness. A report highlighting the key findings from these consultations will be published.
Bill C-65 puts into place one comprehensive approach that takes the full spectrum of harassment and violence into consideration. It will require employers to:
- PREVENT incidents of harassment and violence;
- RESPOND effectively to these incidents if and when they do occur; and
- SUPPORT victims and affected employees
The Bill addresses both federally regulated and parliamentary workplaces.
“Not only have I been mandated by Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure that federally regulated workplaces are free from harassment and sexual violence, but this is also important to me, personally. Today, I'm proud to take another step in achieving this goal. As we move forward with this important initiative, it’s essential that we get it right. That’s why I’m asking all Canadians to participate in this consultation – the feedback we gather will be invaluable in implementing Canada’s new legislation.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Bill C-65 defines harassment and violence as any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment.
The Government of Canada held public consultations in 2017 to better understand the types of harassing and violent behaviours that take place in Canadian workplaces, such as risks that contribute to inappropriate conduct, preventive measures, responses and supports that are being provided, and resources that can help end workplace harassment and violence. The results of the consultations were published on Nov. 2, 2017, in a What We Heard Report.
Of those who responded to the 2017 online consultation, a full 60 per cent reported having experienced harassment; 30 per cent said they had experienced sexual harassment; 21 per cent reported experiencing violence; and three per cent said they had experienced sexual violence. According to respondents, incidents are underreported, often due to fear of retaliation, and the incidents that are reported are not dealt with effectively. Forty-one per cent of survey respondents stated that no attempt was made to resolve an incident they reported.
Also from the online consultation, respondents reported that women are more likely than men to experience sexual harassment, and people with disabilities and members of a visible minority group are more likely to experience harassment than other groups.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
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