News Release

The Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration - Subcommittee on Human Resources

The Subcommittee on Human Resources recommends a new Senate anti-harassment policy

March 21, 2019


Ottawa – The Senate Subcommittee on Human Resources has completed its extensive review of the Senate’s anti-harassment policy and released on Thursday detailed recommendations aimed at deterring and eradicating workplace harassment and violence.

The review was prompted in part by the introduction of Bill C-65, which modified the Canada Labour Code and the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to impose specific employer duties in relation to workplace harassment and violence, and which amended legislation to expand this framework to parliamentary workplaces. Subcommittee members were also sensitive to the empowering movements that have prompted people to speak more openly about the harassment they have faced.

The subcommittee recommends drafting a new anti-harassment policy. The current policy was adopted by the Senate in 2009. Its age and the evolving discourse about harassment militate in favour of creating a new policy that will best meet the needs of senators, staff and employees of the Senate Administration.

The subcommittee renews its recommendation for mandatory anti-harassment training, which it first recommended in a brief June 2018 report. A vast majority of senators have already undergone this training, and one more session will be scheduled to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take it.

Subcommittee members firmly believe that a variety of sanctions — including termination of employment — should be available in the event that a harassment complaint is substantiated. The report makes specific recommendations about processes that should be put in place to impose sanctions against anyone who contravenes the new policy.

All senators, staff and members of the Senate Administration should feel safe and secure in their workplace. Together, we can protect our healthy worklife.

Quick Facts

  • The subcommittee heard from 19 witnesses, including senators, employee representatives and academics specializing in the fields of workplace harassment and occupational health and safety.
  • The report makes 28 recommendations to foster a zero-tolerance environment for harassment.
  • The Senate has already acted on a recommendation for mandatory anti-harassment training for all senators, staff and members of the Senate Administration that the subcommittee made in its first report.

Quotes

“It is deeply important to us that everyone who contributes to the work of the Senate can take pride in their workplace. Part of that is having in place a robust anti-harassment policy that is clear, fair and effective. We have an opportunity to lead by example — let’s seize it.”

- Senator Raymonde Saint-Germain, Chair of the subcommittee

“Harassment in all its forms must be stopped. Victims deserve to be supported. Perpetrators should face real consequences for their actions. Both accuser and accused deserve to have the situation addressed in an appropriately professional way and in a timely fashion. Our modernized anti-harassment policy will show that the Senate is determined to eradicate workplace harassment.”

- Senator Scott Tannas, Deputy Chair of the subcommittee

Associated Links

 

For more information, please contact:

Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer
Communications Directorate | Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 | sonia.noreau@sen.parl.gc.ca