What can locals do?

If you notice members are being affected by violence or harassment in the workplace, reach out and support them.

Educate members on policies and procedures to deal with violence and harassment.

Workplace violence and harassment prevention policy

The employer should develop and display a workplace violence prevention policy, setting out their obligations as an employer:

  • to provide a safe, healthy, harassment-free and violence-free workplace.
  • to dedicate sufficient attention, resources and time to address factors that contribute to workplace violence and harassment including, but not limited to bullying, teasing,abusive and other aggressive behavior.
  • to communicate to employees information about factors contributing to workplace violence and harassment.
  • to ensure that employees know the steps to take if someone is a victim of violence or harassment.
  • to assist employees exposed to workplace violence or harassment.

Health and safety committees

It is the employer’s responsibility to train members of workplace health and safety committees.

Grievances, complaints and claims

All workplace violence situations must be dealt with under the health and safety procedures of the Canada Labour Code or the provincial or territorial legislation/regulation that applies. However, there may be instances where grievances are also warranted because there are limited individual and systemic remedies under the health and safety process. The local should provide advice and guidance as well as representation.

  1. Corrective measures grievance

Employees who have lost pay, leave and/or benefits because of violence in the workplace should file a grievance as soon as possible. In general, the grievance will relate to the leave provisions in the collective agreement. As a result, corrective measures could include – but are not limited to – loss of wages, sick leave, vacation leave or compensatory leave.

  1. No-discrimination grievance 

Harassment and/or violence based on a prohibited ground constitutes discrimination, which is contrary to the no discrimination article and/or harassment articles in the collective agreement and federal, provincial and territorial human rights acts. As with all violations of the no discrimination article, members should file a grievance within the prescribed timelines.

The prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, genetic characteristics and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered. There may be other grounds in provincial and territorial human rights legislation (e.g. social status, political belief or activity, etc.)

Visit the Canadian Human Rights Commission or your provincial/territorial human rights commission website for additional resources.

  1. Member against member complaints

It may happen that the person accused of violence and/or bullying is a union member. Your component or PSAC regional office can help with representation. 

  1. Human rights complaint 

Where harassment and/or violence is linked to a prohibited ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act or other applicable human rights legislation, members may also file a complaint with their respective Human Rights Commission or the tribunal that covers their workplace. This should be done at the same time as filing a discrimination or harassment grievance and any recourse mechanism pursued under the Canada Labour Code or the provincial or territorial legislation/regulation that applies. This is to protect timelines to file a human rights complaint in case the grievance process is not accessible (e.g. timeline to file a grievance has passed) or the grievance process is taking an unreasonable amount of time. Most human rights agencies –but not all – will not look at a human rights grievance in a unionized workplace unless the grievance process is exhausted.

  1. Workers’ compensation claim

Members who are victims of an incident, where there is, or might be, a compensable injury related to their work, should file a worker’s compensation claim (even if they did not take leave from work). The workers’ compensation claim can protect them if they develop any physical or psychological problems. Locals should help with the wording as well as the procedure and the appeal of the claim if it is denied, with assistance from your PSAC regional office.


July 28, 2022