As part of an ongoing commitment to foster a respectful workplace, the Manitoba government has revised its respectful workplace policy and launched a government-wide awareness campaign on sexual harassment, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“Every employee should work in an environment that is respectful and free of all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying,” said Pallister. “Revising the respectful workplace policy and implementing an awareness campaign are important steps our government has taken to ensure Manitoba government employees experience a respectful workplace and feel safe in knowing reports of inappropriate behaviour will be taken seriously.”
Updates to the policy include providing clearer procedures for reporting and addressing concerns, establishing new and revised definitions, clarifying potential remedies and improving post-incident monitoring.
“The revised policy expands on the definition of sexual harassment, which will help reduce barriers to employees coming forward and ensure that issues are dealt with in a consistent and timely manner,” said Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women. “The revised policy and awareness campaign respond directly to what we heard during consultations about sexual harassment in the workplace and our government committed to implementing the recommendations we received from independent advisors and government employees.”
The sexual harassment awareness campaign consists of a series of six posters and was developed with input from employees across government, including representatives from the Disabilities Issues Office and the We Are All Valuable and Equal (WAVE) employee network. It aims to educate supervisors and employees about what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report sexual harassment and how to respond if sexual harassment is reported.
The awareness campaign will:
• help employees recognize what actions constitute sexual harassment and encourage behavioural changes;
• inform supervisors of their responsibility to address sexual harassment; and
• direct employees to the reporting options available and the internet site, with the revised respectful workplace policy and supporting resources.
“Harassment has no place in the workplace,” said Squires. “Every employee has the right to a workplace free of harassment. These steps help ensure our public service is protected and enabled to drive government forward in a safe, supportive environment.”
In February 2018, the Manitoba government announced it would be implementing five measures to ensure a respectful and harassment-free workplace. One measure was to launch government employee consultations to gain insight into employee experiences with sexual harassment. Another measure was to engage in an external expert to review respectful workplace policies and procedures, and to make recommendations.
In August 2018, the Manitoba government announced the release of the two related reports. Revising the respectful workplace policy and implementing a government-wide awareness campaign on sexual harassment will address recommendations from these reports.