To: Executive Council
Alternate Regional Vice-Presidents
RE: *NEW* UTE Bulletin on Workplace Harassment and Violence
This UTE Bulletin should be followed instead of UTE Bulletin 07/15 (re: violence in the workplace) for any complaints of workplace harassment and violence made on or after January 1, 2021. Complaints made prior to January 1, 2021 are still governed by Part XX of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, under the Canada Labour Code, even though Part XX has since been repealed.
Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
Since the coming into force of amendments to the Canada Labour Code (CLC) under Bill C-65 and the Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations on January 1, 2021, any new complaints of workplace harassment and violence made by federal workers, including CRA employees, now fall under this regulatory framework. As part of this framework, the CRA has published on InfoZone the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention and Resolution Procedures. These procedures outline each step of the complaint process and must be followed for any complaints of workplace harassment and violence made on or after January 1, 2021. We encourage any member who has suffered harassment and/or violence in the workplace to make a complaint under these procedures.
The following will provide guidance for members and local UTE representatives relating to the filing of grievances and workplace injury claims resulting from an incident of workplace harassment and violence. For the reasons outlined below, we encourage members to file a workplace harassment and violence grievance (or grievances, depending on the circumstances) concurrently with their complaint.
It is important to note that personal remedy cannot be obtained through complaints of workplace harassment and violence made under the CRA’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention and Resolution Procedures because these fall under the realm of health and safety. In order to obtain personal remedy, you may file a grievance or grievances concurrently with your complaint.
Also note that unlike a complaint made under the CRA’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention and Resolution Procedures, which CRA employees can file at any time, grievances must be filed within 25 working days from the date of the incident, per Article 18 (“Grievance procedure”) of the Collective Agreement.
Under Article 18, some levels of the grievance procedure may be waived, either unilaterally by the grievor or with the agreement of the employer. However, it will sometimes be appropriate to hold grievance consultations at all four levels of the grievance process. This should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Relatedly, in some cases it may be advantageous to hold the grievance in abeyance as you await the resolution of the complaint process, while in other cases there may be no need to do so. Again, this should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
We recommend the following grievance wording, but also suggest that, in certain circumstances, the grievance wording be customized to address the specific circumstances of the case.
Suggested Grievance Wording
I grieve that I have been the victim of an incident (or incidents) of harassment and/or violence in the workplace and that the employer has failed to provide me with a harassment and/or violence free workplace.
Requested Corrective Action
While corrective action will likely need to be tailored to the individual circumstances of the case, we offer the following as some of the measures that may be sought:
That I have discontinued contact with the perpetrator of the harassment and/or violence against me until such time as there is a satisfactory and acceptable resolution to this matter;
That the perpetrator be appropriately counseled and be required to attend sensitivity and technical training on the CRA’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention and Resolution Procedures;
That I be compensated and reimbursed for all loss of wages, leave credits used, and medical and/or other expenses incurred as a result of the incident(s);
That the employer take all reasonable and appropriate measures to promote and ensure compliance with its Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention and Resolution Procedures;
That I be provided with further redress, as deemed reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances, in order to make me whole.
Discriminatory Harassment and/or Violence Grievances: If the harassment and violence suffered was discriminatory, you may also file a grievance under Article 19 (“No Discrimination”) of the Collective Agreement. Additionally, you may make a separate complaint of discrimination, based on one or more of the prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act, through the Canadian Human Rights Commission (note that there is a 12-month time limit to do so from the date of the incident).
Sexual Harassment Grievances: If the harassment suffered was sexual in nature, you may file a grievance under Article 20 (“Sexual Harassment”), while at the same time filing a grievance under Article 19 and a separate complaint through the Canadian Human Rights Commission (see above) to ensure that you can receive remedy under the Canadian Human Rights Act, as sexual harassment is itself discriminatory.
Workplace Injury Claims
Incidents of workplace harassment and violence can often impact the health of the parties involved, including witnesses, whether the impact be physical, mental or emotional. If you have to take any time off work because an incident of workplace harassment and violence has impacted your health, you must fill out the appropriate form and send it to the workers’ compensation authority in your province or territory and tell your supervisor, so that they may send the employer’s form as well. It is crucial that you do so as early as possible as there are strict time limits for filing such claims, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
This is your best recourse for being compensated for lost time due to an injury resulting from such an incident. If your claim is denied, note that officers of the PSAC regional offices are responsible for assisting members with the appeal process.
If members have any questions relating to this Bulletin, they are encouraged to contact a local UTE representative. Local UTE representatives may address their questions to their respective UTE Regional Vice-President, who will consult with their assigned National Office Labour Relations Officer, or with the UTE’s Health and Safety Committee, if need be.
Shane O’Brien Doug Gaetz
Senior Labour Relations Officer Chair, UTE Health & Safety Committee