This past week, a group of very strong and very brave women publicly shared their experiences of having been sexually assaulted by an RCMP doctor. This has no doubt been an exhausting and horrendous ordeal for them to live with for multiple decades and to now re-live again.
CUPE Local 104 would like to remind our members that there are supports available to you, including from your Union. You have rights and a voice as a union member, an employee, and as a Canadian Citizen. Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Harassment in any form are NOT acceptable. You are not alone. If you need support or assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us in confidence.
To those who have walked in our shoes before, we thank you for speaking out. We fully support you. Your strength is an inspiration and you are paving the way for change. It is up to all of us to act, offer support, and lead the change. We will not tolerate Sexual Assault or any form of Harassment.
The full article published by CBC can be found here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/investigates/they-covered-it-up-3-women-go-public-with-sexual-assault-allegations-against-former-rcmp-doctor-1.4983410
What is Harassment?
Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behaviour that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.
Harassment occurs when someone:
- makes unwelcome remarks or jokes about your race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other of the grounds of discrimination;
- threatens or intimidates you because of your race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other of the grounds of discrimination;
- makes unwelcome physical contact with you, such as touching, patting, or pinching.
From the Canadian Human Rights Commission – https://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/what-harassment-1
What is sexual harassment?
The Government of Canada through the Canada Labour Code defines sexual harassment as any conduct, comment, gesture, or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.
Who is entitled to protection from sexual harassment?
Under the Canada Labour Code, every employee is entitled to employment free of sexual harassment.
What are the employer’s responsibilities for the prevention of sexual harassment?
Every employer is required to make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment. Every employer, after consulting with employees or their representatives, must issue a policy on sexual harassment. The policy must contain at least the following items:
- a definition of sexual harassment that is substantially the same as the one in the Code;
- a statement to the effect that every employee is entitled to employment free of sexual harassment;
- a statement to the effect that the employer will make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment;
- a statement to the effect that the employer will take disciplinary measures against any person under his or her direction who subjects any employee to sexual harassment;
- a statement explaining how complaints of sexual harassment may be brought to the attention of the employer;
- a statement to the effect that the employer will not disclose the name of the complainant or the circumstances related to the complaint to any person unless disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking disciplinary measures in relation to the complaint;
- a statement informing employees of their right to make a complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
How should employers inform employees about the sexual harassment policy?
Every employer shall post, and keep posted, copies of the sexual harassment policy where they are likely to be seen by employees.
From the Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/labour-standards/reports/sexual-harassment.html
And Part III Division XV.1 of the Canada Labour Code – https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/L-2/page-46.html#h-100