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Federal workplace harassment legislation is a necessary step

November 7, 2017

TORONTO- Unifor says federal legislation aimed at confronting workplace violence and harassment is a necessary and vital action that should be implemented quickly.

“The proposed legislation is urgently needed to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, it is key to empower and protect workers who face this form of violence,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor supports these steps towards addressing the epidemic of gender-based violence and sexual harassment targeting women in Canadian workplaces.”

Bill C-65, which seeks to amend both the Canada Labour Code and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, was introduced today by Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. If adopted, Bill C-65 will require employers in federally-regulated workplaces to develop improved policies and programs to help prevent workplace violence and harassment. Protections are also expanded to the public service and employees on Parliament Hill.

Unifor has consistently called for federal remedies to end widespread harassment and violence workers face on the job. This includes the incursion of domestic violence into the workplace. As a union, Unifor has worked to ensure members have access to a joint investigation process, and clear anti-harassment protections. However, for the majority of workers in the federal sector who are not unionized, Unifor says this legislation takes an important first step towards ensuring respect and safety on the job.

“Facing violence and harassment at work is a painful and isolating experience. Too often, those who report and seek assistance still face retaliation,” said Lisa Kelly, Unifor Women’s Department Director. “We are looking forward to working with the federal government to ensure that this legislation, and the associated regulations, effectively provides both tools for prevention and remedies where that prevention fails.”

The union has committed to continue to engage with the federal government and call for Bill C-65 to be strengthened throughout upcoming consultations.

For more information, please contact Unifor National Communications Representative Sarah McCue at sarah.mccue@unifor.org or (cell) 416-458-3307.