Gawronsky Encouraged by Government’s Plan to Address Sexual Harassment, Points to Remaining Gaps
“Sexual harassment has no place in our workplaces; it should never be tolerated. Our union has decades of experience in advocating for our members on these protections and we welcome this announcement." Michelle Gawronsky
Feb 23, 2018
In light of recent reports of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour within the provincial government, the Premier announced yesterday several measures to ensure employees are able to work in an environment that is respectful and free of harassment, including sexual harassment.
announcement included five initiatives to ensure all
incidents of sexual harassment are addressed and that all employees feel safe
in reporting such incidents:
- Instituting a ‘no wrong door’ approach for political staff to ensure there are additional avenues (other than direct supervisor or the chief of staff) to report complaints and make sure no one feels reluctant to bring forward complaints for fear of reprisal.
- Launching consultations with government employees to gain insight into their experiences, and to hear about the impacts of policies, practices, and other tools that address workplace harassment.
- Engaging an external expert to review the province’s policies and procedures, and make recommendations.
- Implementing a public reporting process on statistics related to instances of harassment that occur across government. This reporting mechanism will protect the privacy of complainants, while providing accountability to employees and the public.
- Establishing mandatory respectful workplace training for all cabinet and political staff.
“Sexual harassment has no place in our workplaces; it should never be tolerated, says MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky. “Our union has decades of experience in advocating for our members on these protections and we welcome this announcement. I believe it will move us in the right direction to ensuring that everyone working for the government can confidentially come forward with a complaint without fear of reprisal.”
While Gawronsky is encouraged by the government’s announcement, she says the union would like to see mandatory training expanded to include all MLAs, not just cabinet ministers and political staff.
In a letter sent last week, she asked for this very thing, calling on the Premier, the ministers responsible, the Speaker, and the opposition leaders to all work together to address the lack of protections in workplaces where elected officials and political staff deal with MGEU members in the civil service.
are numerous instances where MLAs come into contact with civil service
employees in the workplace. If all MLAs aren’t involved in respectful workplace
training, then I think there will continue to be a remaining gap in addressing
this problem. Let’s eliminate the gap now if we know it’s there.”