By Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring safe and healthy workplaces free from violence and harassment.
Today, Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. ratified International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190, the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (C190) in Geneva, Switzerland. Minister O’Regan was accompanied by Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, Director-General of the ILO.
C190 is the first-ever global treaty on ending violence and harassment in the workplace. The treaty provides a clear framework to prohibit, prevent and address workplace violence and harassment. The treaty, supplemented by its accompanying Recommendation 206, which provides guidelines on how C190 should be applied, takes into account the different and complementary roles that governments, workers and employers, as well as their respective organizations, can play.
Canada played a strong leadership role in the development, adoption and advancement of C190. Canada chaired the International Labour Conference standard-setting committee that negotiated the Convention over 2018 and 2019, and actively participated in international negotiations that led to its adoption. The Government of Canada subsequently worked closely with provincial and territorial governments to deliver on its commitment to ratify C190, which will apply across all jurisdictions.
In the past, workplace violence and harassment were often dealt with in a fragmented manner, or treated as either an equality issue or an occupational health and safety issue. C190 brings these elements together in an integrated way, and calls for violence and harassment to be prohibited, prevented and addressed in relevant law and policies as well as through collective bargaining. C190 also acknowledges that women and other vulnerable groups of workers are disproportionately affected by violence and harassment at work and highlights the importance of ensuring the right to equality and non-discrimination in employment.
C190, along with other measures such as Bill C-65 and the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund, is another way the Government of Canada is helping to make workplaces safer and more welcoming for everyone.
“No one should face violence or harassment on the job—not in Canada, or anywhere else. We’re joining countries around the world to protect workers, and make sure they have the safe, respectful workplaces they deserve.”
– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
“By ratifying Convention No. 190, Canada reaffirms its longstanding commitment to the creation of a world of work free from violence and harassment, based on dignity and respect for all and leaving no one behind. It is time to make that right a reality everywhere, thereby promoting and realizing social justice for all.”
– ILO Director-General, Mr. Gilbert F. Houngbo
“FETCO supports the ratification of C190 by Canada. It will contribute to safer workplaces worldwide, and is an excellent complement to Bill C-65 within the Canadian federal sector. As with all ILO conventions, what sets C190 apart is that it came about via extensive tripartite collaboration in which all three Canadian social partners played a vital role. It is through tripartism that better workplace solutions emerge.”
–President and CEO, FETCO, Derrick Hynes
“Canada’s unions celebrate Canada’s ratification of ILO Convention 190, a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to prevent, address and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work. Harassment and violence impacts seven in ten workers in Canada, and too often, workers in Canada today are not protected by existing legislation, leaving them vulnerable and threatening their safety at work. C190 is a comprehensive and inclusive agreement that, once implemented, will help make all workers safer. Canada’s unions are ready to get to work with governments and employers on a plan to swiftly implement these new protections. Together, we can build a world of work free of violence and harassment, in all its forms.”
–President, Canadian Labour Congress, Bea Bruske
- C190 applies to violence and harassment occurring, linked with or arising out of work, including:
- in the workplace, including public and private spaces where they are a place of work;
- in places where the worker is paid, takes a rest break or a meal, or uses sanitary, washing and changing facilities;
- during work-related trips;
- through work-related communications;
- in employer-provided accommodation; and
- when commuting to and from work.
- In Canadian workplaces, overall, a Statistics Canada study has revealed one in four (25%) Canadian women and one in six (17%) Canadian men experienced workplace sexual harassment in the year prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- According to Statistics Canada, within the federal jurisdiction, 5.6% of employees indicated that they had experienced some form of harassment at their workplace within the previous two years.
- In 2021, the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations and legislation (Bill C–65) came into force. Part II of the Canada Labour Code now provides a single, integrated approach to protecting federally regulated employees, including those in parliamentary workplaces, from harassment and violence in the workplace.
- Since 2019, the Government’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund has invested $3.5 million annually in projects that help create safer workplaces for federally regulated employees.
- Canada is a founding and active member of the International Labour Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations.