The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women invited LEAF to appear as a witness in their Study of Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace. Ainslie Benedict, an employment lawyer and partner at Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP in Ottawa, appeared on behalf of LEAF at a televised hearing on Tuesday May 28 at 11am EDT, along with LEAF Legal Director Kim Stanton.

To watch the live hearing please visit this link.

Kim Stanton, Legal Director, LEAF, notes, “We had a very engaging discussion with the  Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women. The Committee has heard from many witnesses who share our concerns, as experts in this issue, about the persistence of sexual harassment in the workplace and who agree that an effective program is needed to shift workplace culture away from one that tolerates harassment. LEAF is encouraged by the committee’s decision to study this issue and we remain dedicated to working for women’s equality in the workplace.

LEAF provided a written submission to the Committee outlining the barrier posed by sexual harassment for women’s equal participation in the workplace.

The brief notes that the Treasury Board policies in place regarding sexual harassment are good on paper but problematic in implementation, and offers a few possible solutions. For example, a different complaints model is needed, one that removes from the harassed worker the burden of addressing the harassment, along with improvements in hiring and promotion practices.

Sexual harassment acts as a significant barrier to women’s full participation in the paid workforce in Canada. This is particularly so for more vulnerable women, those with job insecurity, those in non-traditional types of employment, women with a disability, and those with a different race, religion or sexual orientation from the majority.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that persists despite several decades of work to eliminate its profoundly negative and costly effects. LEAF urged the Committee to take action to enable women to participate in the workplace equally and with dignity.

Please click on the links below to review the LEAF Submission to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

LEAF Submission English Version / LEAF Submission French Version

If you have any questions, please contact:

Ainslie Benedict, Lawyer and Partner, Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP – 613.231.8364
Kim Stanton, Legal Director, LEAF – 416.595.7170 ext. 223