One in four Public Servants affected by Harassment

Workplace harassment in the Federal Public Service
Women 31%
Visible minorities 33%
Aboriginal people 42%
Persons with disabilities 49%
Percentage of employees who report being victims of various types of harassment

Radio-Canada : 17 June 2009

Workplace harassment is alive and well within the offices of the federal government. Of public servants who took part in a comprehensive survey, 28% report having been victims of various forms of harassment over the past two years. This is the highest level in a decade.

Women, visible minorities, aboriginal people and persons with disabilities who work for the government report higher rates of harassment. This harassment, physical or psychological, is usually inflicted by bosses or colleagues, according to the survey.

""The impact, the consequences are tragic for the person experiencing this harassment," says Eric Gosselin, Professor in occupational psychology at the University of Quebec in the Outaouais. He adds that such situations lead to long-term absences which are costly to the employer.

According to Mr. Gosselin, harassment in the federal public service is no better or worse than elsewhere else.

An admission of failure say unions

Since 2001 the federal government has had a policy to prevent and resolve cases of harassment. However, to the unions, the results of this latest employee survey demonstrate that these methods are not working.

"Often, we see that there is a toxic working environment where you cannot work productively. There is often much more sick leave," says vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Patty Ducharme.

The federal government reiterates that harassment and discrimination at work are not tolerated and that mechanisms are in place to assist employees who are victims.

Radio-Canada 2009


All workers in Canada, regardless of their job function, have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Denying workers their basic fundamental human rights while in and around their place of work, is in fact, no different than exploiting slave labour. Any worker who is denied such basic fundamental human rights, is by law considered to be a exploited human. It is hard to imagine, that Canada, who claims that She is a world leader on the front of the human rights cause, would allow such heinous human rights abuses to occur in Her workplaces?

Perhaps Canada would be well advised to remember such abuses more than once a year like on November 11th, in an effort to mitigate such heinous crimes against humanity, at home and abroad, when she sends our Troops into the world to risk their lives for those less fortunate than ourselves? How can we possibly help the less fortunate when we harrass, bully, intimidate and abuse those who dedicate their lives to defend such principles and values?