Minister Hajdu Introduces New Workplace Harassment Legislation
OTTAWA – POLITICS – “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, and call on all Canadians to join me as we create a more respectful culture,” says Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay Superior North.
“No Canadian should have to experience harassment and sexual violence. Today’s announcement is a strong indicator that the Government of Canada is committed to taking immediate action to prevent and address gender-based violence in all its forms. Our collective and individual actions matter and that includes a whole-of-government approach to make Canada a safer and more inclusive place to live,” adds Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women.
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. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, has announced the Government’s proposed framework to address these issues.
Power imbalances and gender norms underpin our culture, which has led to tolerance of these behaviours for far too long. Research shows that harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces are persistent and pervasive and that incidents often go unreported because people fear retaliation. Yet these behaviours have long-term negative effects, not just for people who’ve experienced them, but for employers as well, through lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.
The framework introduced today marks an important milestone towards making workplaces in federally regulated industries, and Parliament Hill, free from harassment and sexual violence. The framework has three pillars:
1. Prevent incidents of harassment and violence from occurring;
2. Respond effectively to these incidents when they do occur; and
3. Support victims, survivors and employers in the process.
Bill C-65 would amend existing provisions in the Canada Labour Code, replacing the patchwork of laws and policies that address these issues within the federal jurisdiction, including federally regulated workplaces and the federal public service, putting into place one comprehensive approach that takes the full spectrum of harassment and violence into consideration, and expanding these policies to cover parliamentary workplaces, such as the Senate, the Library of Parliament and the House of Commons, including political staff on Parliament Hill.
The changes being proposed to the Code will create a more robust approach to addressing harassment and sexual violence in the workplace. These include repealing weak provisions and ensuring that employers are required to take steps to prevent and protect employees against these behaviours, to respond to them when they do occur, and to offer support to employees affected by them.
The government will also launch an awareness campaign to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes, and develop sample policies for employers. To support people who do experience harassment or violence at work, the government will provide outreach to employees and employers, to help them navigate the workplace prevention and resolution process and to help direct victims to support services.