Canada’s unions call for better protections against workplace violence and harassment

April 23, 2018

This National Day of Mourning, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to do more to address workplace violence and harassment.

Every April 28, Canada’s unions join workers and their families to mourn those who have been injured or killed on the job. Workplace violence and harassment have also led to worker deaths, as well as significant mental and physical injuries. Yet they are often less frequently talked about.

“Workplace harassment and violence are often overlooked hazards of the job,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “In the era of #metoo and #timesup, we need to talk about the negative, even deadly, impacts these hazards can have in the workplace.”

Canada has strong violence prevention regulations that were developed by unions, employers and the federal government working together in a tripartite process. Federal Bill C-65 promises to finally recognize sexual harassment as a workplace hazard.

However, workers are also calling for new measures:

  • First, to make it safe for workers to report harassment and violence by implementing anti-reprisal measures, including whistleblower protection;
  • Second, to ensure federal health and safety officers can be as effective as possible by hiring more officers and ensuring they receive the robust training they need;
  • And finally, to recognize domestic violence as a workplace hazard. This will raise awareness around the need for employers to conduct workplace risk assessments, training and safety planning, and to ensure supports are in place for workers experiencing domestic violence.

“We encourage the federal government to take meaningful steps to further protect workers from harassment and violence,” said Yussuff. “This impacts every sector.”

Supporters are encouraged to add their voice to this campaign at dayofmourning.ca. To find Day of Mourning events happening across Canada, visit the CLC website here.

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