Workplace Health and Safety

Canada’s unions are celebrating Canada’s ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 190

January 30, 2023

Bruske: Workers deserve a safe workplace. This historic convention will establish the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment

OTTAWA––C-190 is the first global treaty that acknowledges the universal right to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and establishes a clear framework for ending it. Once ratified, governments are accountable for preventing and addressing all forms of violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment, and it gives unions the tools they need to make work safer for everyone.

“We know that 7 in 10 workers experience some form of harassment and violence, with women and equity-deserving workers experiencing higher rates and deeper impacts on their jobs, their health, and their well-being,” said Bea Bruske, Canadian Labour Congress President. “Ratifying C-190 not only sends a powerful signal that Canadians believe everyone deserves to work free from violence and harassment – it gives governments, unions and employers a roadmap for preventing it, addressing it, and one day eliminating it.”

Convention 190 is groundbreaking and visionary, but also practical and actionable. It recognizes that everyone in the world of work – governments, employers, unions and individual workers – have a role to play to provide and sustain a work culture that is based on mutual respect and the dignity of everyone.

“We are excited about the potential for proactive, positive change that this ratification represents,” said Bruske. “C-190 is a comprehensive instrument. It’s inclusive in how it defines who is protected and what work situations are covered, it highlights the need for gender-responsive approaches, and it requires that violence and harassment involving third parties – whether they are clients, customers, patients or members of the public – be considered and addressed. For workers whose jobs involve dealing with the public and in public space, this recognition is extremely important.”

“This is truly a convention that leaves no one behind. But to realize its promise and potential, Canada needs a strong plan to implement it in every jurisdiction. Canada’s unions are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work with governments and employers to develop this plan and to make work safer for everyone.”

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