Day of Mourning: Violence and Harassment - it’s not part of the job

PSAC statement on the Day of Mourning, April 28, 2018

On April 28, the Day of Mourning, we remember all those who have been killed or injured because of their work. Today we also commit to protect the living and ensure that we can prevent, and actively address, harassment and violence in the workplace.

For too many workers, harassment and violence are part of their job.  Women are four times more likely to experience violence and harassment than their male colleagues. For racialized women and those living with a disability, rates of violence are even higher. 

Even with increased visibility and activism around harassment in recent years, 22 per cent of employees in the federal public service have reported being the victim of harassment on the job in the past two years.  Of those, 25 per cent took no action regarding the harassment
they were experiencing.

Victims of violence and harassment are too often denied justice. The government must give teeth to the changes proposed in bill C-65 –  legislation on harassment and violence in the federal public service and federally regulated industries – while also strengthening established privacy and human rights processes and protections.  Parliament can significantly improve this proposed legislation by outlining clear repercussions for perpetrators and including personal and systemic protections, as well as remedies for victims.

The role of health and safety committees in receiving complaints should be recognized and protected, not eliminated as proposed by bill C-65. PSAC recommends hiring a sufficient number of Health and Safety Officers and establishing a substantive training system that covers privacy rights, human rights, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

The far-reaching impact of violence and harassment in the workplace on the mental health and physical safety of workers cannot be underestimated.

On this year’s Day of Mourning, PSAC encourages its members and locals to:

  • Organize an event to commemorate the Day of Mourning
  • Attend events organized by your local labour council or federation of labour
  • Sign the petition sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress


April 26, 2018