First-ever global treaty on ending violence and harassment at work comes into force in Canada

News release

January 30, 2024             Gatineau, Quebec           Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190 (C190), the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, formally enters into force in Canada. C190 is the first-ever global treaty on ending violence and harassment at work.

The coming into force marks the one-year anniversary of Canada’s ratification of C190. The Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., ratified the Convention on behalf of the Government of Canada alongside Gilbert Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO, at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on January 30, 2023.

Governments that ratify C190 are required to implement laws, policies and collective bargaining agreements that prohibit, prevent and address violence and harassment at work.

No Canadian should go to work fearing violence and harassment. Canada played a strong leadership role in the development, adoption, and advancement of the ILO’s C190, including chairing the standard-setting committee that negotiated the Convention over 2018 and 2019. The coming into force of C190 demonstrates Canada’s commitment to safe and healthy workplaces for everyone.

Around the world, Canada continues to promote C190 among international partners, as well as the kinds of laws and policies necessary to end violence and harassment at work. Across United Nations forums and other international engagements, Canada advocates for more inclusive workplaces that recognize the importance of equality and non-discrimination in employment and acknowledges that women and vulnerable people are disproportionately affected by violence and harassment at work.

At home, the Government is taking action to implement its workplace violence and harassment framework under the Canada Labour Code and Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations, which came into force in January 2021. The federal Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund is also helping to create safer workplaces for all, by investing $3.5 million annually in projects that help build the safe, respectful workplaces that workers deserve.


“No one should face violence or harassment on the job - not in Canada, not anywhere. We joined countries around the world in this Convention to protect workers, and make sure every workplace is safe and respectful. That’s not just a Canadian value. Today, it’s a protected right.”

– Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour and Seniors

Quick facts

  • C190  applies to violence and harassment occurring, linked with or arising out of work, including:

    • in the workplace, including public and private spaces where they are a place of work;
    • in places where the worker is paid, takes a rest break or a meal, or uses sanitary, washing and changing facilities;
    • during work-related trips;
    • through work-related communications;
    • in employer-provided accommodation; and
    • when commuting to and from work.
  • Canada chaired the International Labour Conference standard-setting committee that negotiated C190 over 2018 and 2019, and actively participated in international negotiations that led to its adoption. The Government of Canada subsequently worked closely with provincial and territorial governments to deliver on its commitment to ratify C190.

  • In 2021, the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations and legislation (Bill C–65) came into force. Part II of the Canada Labour Code now provides a single, integrated approach to protecting federally regulated employees, including those in parliamentary workplaces, from harassment and violence in the workplace.

  • Since 2019, the Government's Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund has invested $3.5 million annually in projects that help create safer workplaces for federally regulated employees.

  • Canada is a founding and active member of the International Labour Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Hartley Witten
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Labour and Seniors, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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