More than half (54 per cent) of Canadians believe training around workplace harassment and violence should occur annually, while 28 per cent said it should take place every three years or more, according to the results of the federal government’s online consultation.
The survey, which polled 1,000 Canadians about new legislation on workplace harassment and violence, found the majority agreed with the proposed regulations, which would put requirements on timelines to ensure employers adequately respond to complaints of workplace harassment and violence.
It also found 86 per cent of respondents agreed employers should acknowledge receipt of a notification of harassment or violence in no later than five calendar days. In addition, 85 per cent agreed the employer should be obligated to provide monthly updates on the status of the resolution process to the complainant and the respondent.
Canadians were also asked what support options should be made available for employees and who should provide them. Some 87 per cent agreed physical support for the complainant should be provided, including medical care if necessary, and 41 per cent indicated the employer was in the best position to provide that support.
For psychological support, 84 per cent believed a list of local resources should be made available to all parties, with 63 per cent indicating the employer should be responsible for providing it. Respondents also largely (80 per cent) agreed adjustments to the workplace environment to reduce the potential for continued harassment and violence should be made available to all parties and 42 per cent felt the employer should provide the accommodation.
In regards to family violence, employers would be required to outline how they’d respond to situations where there’s concern that family violence may make its way into the workplace. Among survey participants, 78 per cent agreed the method of how an employer will provide support, such as developing a safety plan, is an important addition to the prevention policy. And 73 per cent also believed training for employees on family violence is necessary as well.
“I would like to thank everyone who participated in this consultation,” said Patty Hajdu, minister of employment, workforce development and labour, in a press release. “Changing workplace culture is a process, but with your help, employers and employees will be better equipped to prevent, respond and support each other as we drive this important change.”
The release also noted 60 per cent of Canadians experience harassment, 30 per cent said they had experienced sexual harassment and 21 per cent experienced violence. Within the last year, the federal government has committed $34.9 million to developing these regulations over a five-year period, with $3.5 million dedicated annually to grants and contributions through the workplace harassment and violence prevention fund.