Seven in 10 Canadian employees have experienced some form of violence and harassment at work, according to a survey by the Canadian Labour Congress in partnership with researchers at Western University and the University of Toronto.

The survey, which was conducted to address the lack of Canada-specific data around issues of violence and harassment in the workplace, found 88 per cent of respondents who experienced harassment and violence were transferred, suspended, fired or lost a shift, while 70 per cent had to miss work due to the negative effects.

Almost half of Canadian workers also experienced some form of sexual harassment and violence in the last two years, according to the survey.

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“The report provides an important and sobering insight into the state of harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces today,” said Bea Bruske, president of the CLC, in a press release. “We see this as a wakeup call and as an opportunity to reassess what is and is not working. The results will give us a strong evidence base to decide what actions we need to take next.”

The results showed not all employees experience violence and harassment to the same extent. Women, transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse workers were found to experience higher rates of violence and harassment, as well as workers with a disability. Indigenous respondents also experienced higher rates of harassment and violence (79 per cent) and sexual harassment (47.8 per cent).

The most commonly reported perpetrators were third parties, such as customers, clients and patients, and co-workers. Few survey respondents said they actually reported incidents of violence and harassment and those who have were often not satisfied with the outcome.

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“We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution and we are ready to do the work to address harassment and violence in all its forms,” said Bruske. “We are particularly concerned by the results around reporting which shows that too few workers are reporting and those that do are often not satisfied with the outcome. Clearly, the reporting procedures that we have in place today are not working.”