Gender Equality

A historic step towards greater protections for workers around the world

June 21, 2019

Canada’s unions join workers everywhere in celebrating today’s historic adoption of a new International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and Recommendation addressing violence and harassment in the world of work.

After over a year of negotiations with governments, employers, and workers, the Centenary International Labour Conference adopted the new framework at its convention in Geneva.

“It is a historic day,” said CLC’s Secretary-Treasurer Marie Clarke Walker, who served as Worker Vice-Chair for the negotiations. “We set out to draft a standard that would stand the test of time, that would carry us forward into the next century of the ILO, and would meet the challenges of the future world of work.”

The ILO is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards.

The ILO Convention and Recommendation set out clear policies, grounded in social dialogue and requiring an integrated, gender-responsive approach to the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work. The Convention is legally binding, while the Recommendation provides advice.

“I truly believe what you have before you today are texts that we can all be proud of – instruments that are both ground-breaking and visionary, but also practical and actionable,” said Clarke Walker in a speech to delegates at the conference.

“Having a global minimum standard to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work will bring hope to millions of workers – hope that a world of work free from violence and harassment is possible,” she added.

Canada’s unions congratulate Clarke Walker and all of the participants in the standard-setting process.

“This is a great achievement,” said Hassan Yussuff, CLC President. “Now that we have secured this ground-breaking convention, we urge Canada to be among the first countries to ratify. We stand ready to ensure its effective implementation, so everyone can fully enjoy the right to work free from violence and harassment.”

Read the full text of the new Convention and Recommendation here.

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