February 27, 2009, TORONTO – Ontario youth will soon be educated about sexual harassment, discrimination and pay equity in the workplace and their rights. With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the RBC Foundation the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) will soon be in classrooms and community centres around the province and across the country with its LEAF at Work program.

LEAF at Work will provide youth (ages 14 to 19) with information about their legal rights and responsibilities in the workplace, how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms relates to them in the work environment, and how to respond to situations of sexual harassment and discrimination. “A high percentage of women will experience sexual harassment at some point in their working lives,” noted Audrey Johnson, Executive Director of LEAF. “By providing this program to youth before they enter the work force, we are offering concrete methods that will empower them and help make legal rights more meaningful.”

The program will target both young women and men, with the hope of closing the gap for groups that are marginalized in the workforce.

“The best tool for the elimination of inappropriate behavior is education,” said L. Robin Cardozo, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. “We’re glad that our grant is helping LEAF provide young people with the tools and resources they need to make informed choices about their work-related relationships.”

“RBC is committed to building a better Canada by helping improve the economic, environmental and social fabric of the communities where we work and live,” said Shari Austin, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, RBC. “Our support of programs like LEAF at Work has a tremendously positive impact in the community and helps adolescents develop critical skills and self-esteem to build their own futures.”

LEAF is tremendously grateful for the support of the Trillium and RBC foundations and expects to begin pilots of the three year project in the fall.

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LEAF Contacts:

Audrey Johnson
Executive Director
(416) 595-7170 ext 225

Katherine Blake
Director of Fund Development
(416) 595-7170 ext 222

Nicole Curling
Director of Communications
(416) 595-7170 ext 224