Subcommittee on Human Resources
‘Harassment and violence have no place in the Senate’: New harassment prevention policy promotes respect in the workplace, features robust resolution process with strict timelines
February 16, 2021
A new Senate harassment and violence prevention policy featuring a resolution process with independent oversight has been adopted to ensure the Senate is a workplace where everyone is treated with respect, fairness and dignity. It is focused on preventing harassment and violence in the workplace as defined by the Canada Labour Code.
The Senate Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy was tabled in the Senate today. The policy was developed by senators on the Subcommittee on Human Resources with extensive input from the Senate’s Policy Health and Safety Committee, which includes representatives from all categories of Senate employees. The policy was approved by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration on February 11, 2021.
A cornerstone of the policy is the introduction of an impartial third party, which will handle reports of inappropriate conduct. Anyone who experiences or witnesses such conduct will be able to contact the impartial third party, in confidence, to launch the resolution process. In addition, the impartial third party will be required to give regular updates to the person who experienced the inappropriate conduct, and the entire process must be completed within six months. All employees can be confident their voices will be heard.
The policy is to take effect once the impartial third party has been retained. A competitive process will be launched very soon.
The policy is the latest action taken to enhance the Senate’s positive and inclusive workplace culture. All senators and staff have undergone mandatory anti-harassment training recommended by the subcommittee in June 2018 and, in developing the policy, the subcommittee heard from a broad range of witnesses to ensure the policy meets the needs of Senate employees and the standards of the Canada Labour Code.
The subcommittee and the Senate’s Policy Health and Safety Committee will review the policy every three years, or earlier if it appears advisable to do so.
- The new policy can easily be adapted to reflect evolving best practices. Whereas the existing policy was adopted by the Senate — thus required the Senate as a whole to modify it — the new policy can be revised as needed by the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.
- Investigations will be conducted not only to resolve specific cases but also to shed light on how similar situations can be avoided. When an investigation is concluded, the investigator must produce a report with recommendations to eliminate or minimize the risk of repeat occurrences.
“Expert witnesses, thorough research and the voices of our own employees have helped us create a robust policy aimed at preventing harassment and violence that promotes a safe and healthy workplace, and that holds every person who serves this institution accountable for their actions. Harassment and violence have no place in the Senate.”
- Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain, Chair of the subcommittee
“This policy encourages everyone in the Senate to play an active role in fostering a culture of respect in the workplace. We want everyone at the Senate to feel safe at work, and to know that the institution will support them if they are subjected to inappropriate or unwelcome conduct.”
- Senator Judith G. Seidman, Deputy Chair of the subcommittee
- Read the policy: Senate Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy.
- Follow the subcommittee on social media using the hashtag #HRRH.
- Sign up for the Senate eNewsletter.
For more information:
Public Relations Officer | Senate of Canada
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