CPHR Canada recommends strengthened legislation on harassment, violence

Looking for clear definitions, impartial investigations

CPHR Canada recommends strengthened legislation on harassment, violence
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 28, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

CPHR Canada, the national association representing the human resources profession, told a House of Commons committee that bullying, harassment and violence in the workplace damages Canada’s economy.

The issues underlying harassment and violence in the workplace, including challenges faced by victims in the complaints process, have a direct impact on mental health, absenteeism and loss of productivity, said the organization.

CPHR Canada was commenting on Bill C-65, An act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No.1 introduced in the House of Commons late last fall. The bill is currently before committee.

The organization made two specific recommendations to improve the legislation:

•Bullying, harassment and violence must be clearly defined

•The investigation process must be clear, simple and impartial. Any investigation relating to a complaint of harassment or violence must be assigned to an individual who is competent to do so. Done badly, investigations can cause even greater damage to workplace relations.

“Communicating regularly with employees, ensuring supervisors and managers apply policies, disciplinary management if necessary to correct wrongdoing, education and training workshops to facilitate changing attitudes and behaviours, and finally support and training for managers — those are the key aspects that are necessary in every workplace that will drive a change of culture,” said Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CPHR Canada, which represents 27,000 members in the HR profession across nine provinces and three territories.