New workplace harassment and violence prevention training launched in British Columbia’s maritime sector

News release

February 9, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec               Employment and Social Development Canada

Canadians know that safe, healthy and respectful workplaces are good for everyone. That is why the Government of Canada continues to support workers, unions and employers to advance the goal of achieving harassment and violence-free federally regulated workplaces. By supporting harassment and violence prevention projects throughout Canada, we create workplaces where Canadian workers can achieve their potential. This is good for workers, unions, employers and the Canadian economy.

Today, Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi, along with representatives from the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada, and the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC), met virtually with stakeholders to launch a new harassment and violence prevention training program that will benefit British Columbia’s 10,000-person waterfront workforce.

In 2019, the BCMEA received funding of $3.9 million over five years through Employment and Social Development Canada’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund for their project “Violence and Harassment Awareness, Management and Training for the BC Waterfront.” The BCMEA and its partners have co-developed a comprehensive training program bringing employers, unions and anti-violence experts together to provide training and education in support of safer, more respectful workplaces for everyone. This includes an emphasis on supporting populations most at risk of experiencing workplace harassment and violence, including LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous communities.

The training is the first of its kind on BC’s waterfront. Alongside robust compliance-based policies and procedures, it includes a significant focus on bystander education in support of culture transformation. Drawing on decades of research and frontline expertise, EVA BC’s internationally recognized Be More Than a Bystander program delivers a groundbreaking, culture-shifting approach to creating safe, respectful workplaces and communities. It is one of the foundational elements of the new BCMEA–ILWU–EVA BC training program.

During the meeting, Minister Tassi highlighted the importance of tools and resources—like the BCMEA–ILWU–EVA BC training—that will help workplaces comply with the harassment and violence prevention legislation (Bill C-65) and supporting regulations, which came into force on January 1, 2021. The legislation takes all forms of harassment and violence into consideration and requires employers in federally regulated workplaces to have procedures in place to prevent and respond to incidents of harassment and violence. 

Quotes

“Every Canadian has the right to work in a healthy, respectful and safe environment. Supporting harassment and violence prevention projects like this will create better workplaces where workers can reach their potential. This benefits workers, unions, employers and our economy. The Government of Canada is proud to have contributed to the BCMEA–ILWU–EVA BC training program, which responds to a pressing need to create occupational health and safety tools and resources that will make a real difference in Canadian workplaces.”
– Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi

“Violence and harassment have no place on the waterfront or in any of our members’ workplaces. Thanks to the Government of Canada and our partnership with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the Ending Violence Association of BC, our members and their employees will now have a critical tool to protect the health and safety of themselves, their families and the community at large.”
– Mike Leonard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the BC Maritime Employers Association

“The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada is proud to be a part of this campaign to end violence and harassment on the BC waterfront. We wholeheartedly welcome the partnership that we have created with the Ending Violence Association of BC, the BC Maritime Employers Association and the Government of Canada. A worker must be able to go to work without experiencing physical or mental distress in the workplace. We believe a workplace free of violence and harassment will increase the quality of life for our workers, including in their home life. I would like to thank the frontline trainers who will be delivering this program to the workforce and giving our industry the tools it needs to become a healthier workplace.”
– Rob Ashton, President of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada

“With a mandate to train more than 10,000 people spanning union and management workers, this is one of the largest workplace violence and harassment prevention training programs ever undertaken in the province. The Ending Violence Association of BC is proud to support the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the BC Maritime Employers Association in their collaborative work to increase workplace safety, and we are thrilled that our internationally recognized bystander program will be a part of this significant training initiative.”
– Tracy Porteous, Executive Director of the Ending Violence Association of BC

Quick facts

  • The harassment and violence prevention legislation, Bill C-65, strengthens provisions in the Canada Labour Code by putting into place one comprehensive approach that takes the full spectrum of harassment and violence into consideration. It also expands coverage to parliamentary workplaces, including staff on Parliament Hill. The Bill and its supporting regulations came into force on January 1, 2021.

  • Through Budget 2018, the Government committed $34.9 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, with $7.4 million per year ongoing, to support Bill C-65, of which $3.5 million annually is dedicated to grants and contributions through the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund. The Fund was announced in 2019, and there are currently seven projects receiving funding.

  • From Vancouver to Stewart, the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) is the human resource department for British Columbia’s waterfront employers. With more than 50 members, BCMEA works on behalf of employers to provide labour relations and safety and skills training to the over 7,000 longshore workers along the coast. BCMEA’s members operate 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. 

  • The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada has been representing working people in British Columbia since 1948. The ILWU Canada is the exclusive bargaining agent for more than 6,000 men and women throughout the province. The ILWU Canada is a union made up of 12 autonomous locals and three affiliates: the Retail Wholesale Union (British Columbia), the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (Saskatchewan) and the Grain and General Services Union (Saskatchewan). The ILWU Canada Longshore Division is involved in the loading, unloading and checking of cargo to and from vessels and the storage of these goods on the docks and in warehouses.

  • The Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) is a province-wide, non-profit, survivor-serving organization that exists as a resource for more than 300 community-based services in British Columbia. In more than 28 years, EVA BC has developed extensive experience creating policies, procedures, best practices and training to create safe workplace cultures and communities. EVA BC’s internationally recognized programming includes a significant focus on bystander training as a means of empowering employees and whole communities to create the safe and respectful environments they deserve. 

  • The BCMEA invested $3 million toward the project “Violence and Harassment Awareness, Management and Training for the BC Waterfront.” The ILWU Canada and its locals also contributed more than $100,000 toward the selection and development of trainers.

Associated links

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:
Lars Wessman
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi
613-854-3920
Lars.Wessman@labour-travail.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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