Monthly Archives: August, 2019


August 27th, 2019 Respect et sport pour leaders d’activité

Laval, le 22 août 2019 – Soccer Québec est fière de s’associer à Respect et Sport, une formation interactive en ligne déclinée en 4 volets. Ces formations visent à prévenir l’intimidation, l’abus, le harcèlement et la discrimination.

Dans le cadre du programme de Reconnaissance des clubs, deux volets de ces formations deviendront obligatoires à partir du 31 mars 2020. D’abord, Respect et Sport pour leaders d’activité s’adresse au personnel technique et aux éducateurs. « Cette formation complémentera parfaitement les formations qui sont déjà offertes par Soccer Québec aux éducateurs et aux éducatrices », indique Mike Vitulano, responsable à la formation des éducateurs. Le volet Respect au travail s’adresse quant à lui aux membres des conseils d’administration et aux employés administratifs des clubs. Respect et Sport offre aussi un volet pour les parents et un programme « Gardons les filles en sport ». Ces derniers ne sont pas obligatoires, mais recommandés et encouragés par Soccer Québec.

Avec ce partenariat, Soccer Québec souhaite conscientiser le personnel et les bénévoles œuvrant avec les jeunes à porter une attention particulière à certains comportements. « Les sujets qui seront abordés sont tout aussi importants que les aspects techniques et tactiques du jeu et permettront d’offrir un environnement sain et sécuritaire aux joueurs et joueuses de soccer au Québec.  Nous voulons nous assurer que tous les parents puissent confier leurs enfants en toute confiance à des éducateurs bien préparés et formés au sujet de l’éthique et de la gestion d’équipe », ajoute Mike Vitulano.

Rappelons que les valeurs de Soccer Québec sont le respect, l’intégrité, l’excellence, l’équité, l’unité et l’accessibilité. Le partenariat avec Respect et Sport était donc tout naturel dans le but de promouvoir ces valeurs fondamentales.

Preventing BAHD Behaviours in your Workplace

August 21st, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

In Partnership with the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA)
Golf Business Canada Fall 2019

Authors: Brad Blaisdell & Michelle Phaneuf

Brad is the Regional Director – Respect in the Workplace for Respect Group which focuses on the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination. Michelle is a partner with Workplace Fairness West and the Workplace Fairness Institute. Contact Brad at and Michelle at

Workplaces are complex, dynamic environments. Like golf, to improve your overall game or operations you need to recognize and adjust your physical game, but also your mental game. Employers today recognize the value of a healthy workplace, and that psychological health and safety is AS important as physical health and safety.

How we work, who we are, our attitudes, and behaviour are diverse and unique. When everyone interacts respectfully this diversity fosters a robust workplace and an inviting operation for staff. However, without that foundation of respect, BAHD (Bullying, Abuse, Harassment & Discrimination) behaviours can creep in. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety these behaviours might look like:

Preventing BAHD Behaviours in your Workplace

  • Spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or
  • Excluding or isolating someone
  • Intimidating a
  • Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s
  • Physically abusing or threatening
  • Making verbal or emails jokes that are ‘obviously offensive’
  • Yelling or using
  • Criticizing a person persistently or
  • Belittling a person

If left unchecked, BAHD can turn an otherwise healthy workplace into a toxic environment and the cost of doing nothing adds up quickly.


3 in 10 Canadians say their workplaces are not psychologically safe and healthy1, and nearly half report having experienced one or more acts of workplace harassment at least once a week for the last six months.2 Employees coping with these toxic work environments take twice as much sick time.3 Statistics Canada estimates the cost of employee absence due to bullying and harassment is roughly $19 billion per year.

Toxic workplaces not only affect employee absence but also impact productivity and efficiency. 80% of employees in toxic workplaces spend significant time and energy focused on the BAHD behaviour taking time away from their work and 48% reduce their effort.4 Considering an annual wage of $60,000, an example of 20% reduction in productivity can equate to a $12,000 loss per employee. This can have a significant financial impact on organizations of all sizes.

KPMG’s Diversity and Inclusion Group recently hosted a panel event in Toronto to discuss the issues around workplace bullying and harassment. Their panel included:

Louise Bradley, president and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Pamela Jeffery, president, The Pamela Jeffery Group, Soula Courlas, partner, KPMG, and Sheldon Kennedy, former NHL player, abuse survivor and co-founder of the Respect Group.

The panellists noted that ignoring the issue not only affects employee retention, but it hurts productivity and profitability.5 Experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace can trigger mental health problems and illnesses, which, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, are the leading cause of short – and long – term disability.6 The economic burden in Canada has been estimated at $51 billion per year.


Governments across Canada are recognizing the importance of psychological health and safety, and legislation is in effect to guide organizations to manage these issues. While legislation may differ from province to province, many have clear guidelines and expectations for employers.

Workers Compensation Boards are also accepting claims focused on psychological injuries including wording such as: clear and confirmed harassing behaviour at the workplace where a worker has been subjected to threats of harm, violations of personal privacy, public shaming or baseless threats to his or her employment status. Employers large and small have the duty to ensure their workplaces are harassment free and are exposing themselves to legal and financial risk if they do not address BAHD behaviours.

Sheldon Kennedy indicated in the panel discussion that, “Leaders and operators need to ask the tough questions to determine if this type of behaviour is happening in their organization. They need to be prepared for what they might find and be committed to taking action to address and end it.”


A shocking 55% of surveyed Canadians reported experiencing bullying in the workplace, including name-calling, physical aggression and online taunts, according to a 2018 poll by Forum Research. Worse still, the study found that only one third of companies took action to stop the perpetrators. While pointing out the risks of not addressing the issue, the panellists noted that many organizations are taking real action to address the issue. “This isn’t just about focusing on the bad individuals,” said Kennedy. “Ninety-eight percent of individuals want to be good, so focus on them and give them the tools to be better.”

For those companies who don’t know where to start, the panellists said the most important step was instituting a culture of respect and zero tolerance for toxic behaviour in their organizations — a tone that needs to come straight from the golf course owner or operator, or general manager. “This will require a willingness from leadership to face the hard truths about what is happening inside their walls,” said Courlas. “Bullying can be subtle. Education is key to helping people recognize it. Leadership has a duty to proactively work towards eradicating this type of behaviour, which will inevitably help unlock the best of their people. Making good people better is the end goal and is completely attainable.”

WorkSafe BC has created guidelines to support employers in responding effectively:

ENCOURAGE everyone at the workplace to act towards others in a respectful and professional manner.

HAVE a workplace policy in place that includes a reporting system.

EDUCATE everyone that bullying is a serious matter.

TRY TO WORK OUT solutions before the situation gets serious or “out of control.”

EDUCATE everyone about what is considered bullying, and whom they can go to for help.

TREAT all complaints seriously, and deal with complaints promptly and confidentially.

TRAIN supervisors and managers in how to deal with complaints and potential situations. Encourage them to address situations promptly whether or not a formal complaint has been filed.

HAVE an impartial third party help with the resolution, if necessary.

They recommend that organizations act as soon as possible, not ignore any potential problems and not delay resolution.

Employers large and small must implement procedures for responding to reports or incidents of bullying and harassment. The procedures must ensure a reasonable response to the report or incident and aim to fully address the incident and ensure that bullying and harassment is prevented or minimized in the future. Investigations into the incident may be required or an impartial third party may be a resource for resolving the situation or restoring the workplace after an investigation has taken place.

In addition to clear policies and procedures, other best practices include a no-reprisals policy, confidential whistleblower lines, a workplace Ombudsman and due diligence on new hires.


Thankfully, today’s work climate is changing. Top organizations are less reactive and more proactive than ever before. Employee wellness has become a priority because happy, engaged employees are more productive, collaborative, and innovative and will be much more client focused. Meeting and exceeding client expectations is next to impossible if trust between co- workers is broken, they are not engaged, appreciated, or acknowledged for the good work they do.

According to Wayne McNeil, co-founder of Respect Group, “Polices and procedures are necessary, but they typically sit on the shelf until an issue arises. You really do need to have proactive training that creates standards, empowers the bystander and refers to the policies/procedures. Ultimately, your risk mitigation strategy needs to be in sync with your desire to drive a positive culture.”

He indicates that this message needs to come from leadership. It can start with HR professionals saying that they need to be proactive; they can plant the seed. But the tone of the culture, the commitment and the accountability must be set by senior leadership.

Blaine Donais, president and founder of the Workplace Fairness Institute says, “Unresolved conflict is one of the top 5 indicators of bullying and harassment. Organizations need to ensure that employees have options to successfully resolve conflict. We have found that instituting a Workplace Ombudsman Office provides employees with a safe, confidential space to support in the resolution of conflict.”

Bullying, Abuse, Harassment, and Discrimination can be successfully addressed when it appears, and golf course course owners and operators can take steps to be proactive in preventing these behaviours. These steps will help your organization to create an environment in which employees can be successful, thereby ensuring your operation’s success.



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(5 ) Addressing workplace bullying, harassment must be a business priority, Panel January 31st, 2019




From the comments: ‘A very sad and sickening story.’ Readers respond to B.C. teen’s suspected overdose, filmed by his peers

August 21st, 2019 General News

Source: The Globe and Mail: SAMANTHA MCCABE


Readers are responding to Nancy MacDonald’s reporting on the tragic story of teen Carson Crimeni’s death, which has left his family devastated and his community in B.C.’s Lower Mainland dismayed.

The 14-year-old was constantly bullied in school, his peers say, often about the fact that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had few friends. On the evening of Aug. 7, some older teenagers invited him to the local skate park, where they took drugs that friends say Carson likely had never taken before. In the hours that followed videos were posted to social media that showed him profusely sweating, breathing irregularly and losing his ability to speak, all as the young men laughed and catcalled him.

According to police, potential charges are a long way off, as they are still working through the evidence and examining each of the 114 tips that have come in.


Readers are responding to Nancy MacDonald’s reporting on the tragic story of teen Carson Crimeni’s death, which has left his family devastated and his community in B.C.’s Lower Mainland dismayed.

The 14-year-old was constantly bullied in school, his peers say, often about the fact that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had few friends. On the evening of Aug. 7, some older teenagers invited him to the local skate park, where they took drugs that friends say Carson likely had never taken before. In the hours that followed videos were posted to social media that showed him profusely sweating, breathing irregularly and losing his ability to speak, all as the young men laughed and catcalled him.

According to police, potential charges are a long way off, as they are still working through the evidence and examining each of the 114 tips that have come in.


I’d like to hear if the RCMP have any leads or if they expect to press charges. This story is a couple weeks old now. Considering it was on social media you’d think they would’ve charged someone by now.


I can’t even imagine what the young bystanders and their families are going through: hiding? conjuring alibis? Please step forward, out of respect for yourselves and Carson’s family. If you humbly admit your wrongs, the punishment will be less harsh and you will feel less guilt and shame. As what Tom D said, reach out for forgiveness. If you do not right your wrongs, you will be haunted by [it] for the rest of your lives.

El Guapo 66

A very sad and sickening story. Lots of kids are becoming detached from reality and view themselves as merely spectators through a screen.

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Law firm ordered to pay student nearly $70K for wrongful firing that led to her becoming homeless

August 19th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

A prominent Vancouver law firm has been ordered to pay almost $70,000 for wrongfully dismissing an articling student, who ended up unemployed and homeless for several months after she was fired.

A B.C. Supreme Court justice found that Melissa Ojanen, who graduated from law school in 2016, was mistreated while working at Acumen Law Corporation.

She had been hired as an articling student in what was supposed to be a 12-month placement that included a 10-week professional legal training course.

“She is the victim of unfair, bullying, bad-faith conduct by her former employer and her former principal and has suffered substantial and prolonged emotional distress because of that conduct,” wrote Justice Geoffrey Gomery in the decision.

“The consequences for Ms. Ojanen were severe. She was unable to obtain alternate articles and has not been called to the bar.”

‘Unnecessary and psychologically brutal’

Acumen specializes in driving law. According to the judgment, Acumen founder Paul Doroshenko fired Ojanen publicly after discovering a blog about driving prohibitions that he believed she was running.

Doroshenko argued it was too similar to one the firm runs.

“Mr. Doroshenko’s response on discovering the blog was disproportionate and bullying,” Gomery wrote.

“I find that he was determined to protect Acumen’s competitive position by making an example of Ms. Ojanen.”

Paul Doroshenko, founder of Acumen, is a prominent defence lawyer in Vancouver. (CBC News)

Doroshenko accused the student of breach of contract, theft, trespassing and wrongful use of marketing materials belonging to the firm. The judge dismissed the allegations, noting they were “harsh and unwarranted.”

Gomery also noted the firm’s actions — including serving a lawsuit against Ojanen in front of her classmates, rather than mailing it to her — was “unnecessary and psychologically brutal.”

After she was fired, Ojanen struggled to find employment and pay rent, according to the ruling.

She lived out of her car for three months — and when her husband, whom she is separated from, repossessed the vehicle, she briefly lived on the streets before her parents took her in.

“Pending the resolution of this lawsuit, her life has been on hold,” wrote Gomery.

Ojanen was awarded $50,000 for aggravated damages, as well as ordinary damages of $18,934 for lost wages.

Never too busy for investigations If employers can’t find time to investigate harassment, they’ll pay damages later

Never too busy for investigations If employers can’t find time to investigate harassment, they’ll pay damages later

August 15th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: Occupational Health and Safety 

By: Jeffrey R. Smith

It can be busy to run a company and manage employees. At times, most business owners and managers probably feel it’s almost impossible to juggle all the things being asked of them. However, regardless of how busy things are, they can’t use it as an excuse not to properly investigate allegations of workplace harassment or bullying.

All employers in Canada have a legal obligation to properly and fairly investigate allegations of harassment, bullying and violence in the workplace. After all, they are also legally required to provide a workplace free of such threats, so when the possibility of any of these things occurring is raised, they need to find out if it happened and if it did, take measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

It’s a human rights matter, a health and safety matter, and a workplace culture matter.

Unfortunately, proper investigations don’t always happen. This is evident in the numerous employment law cases involving alleged workplace harassment, bullying, and violence that were deemed not to have been properly resolved by the employers involved. And usually this means the employer must pay.

The Ontario Superior Court recently heard a case where an employee made a formal complaint that a co-worker verbally harassed her on multiple occasions, including yelling and screaming at her and calling her an idiot. The president of the company acknowledged her complaint, but said they were currently short-staffed due to illnesses and vacation, so he would pass it along to the HR department.

However, no-one did anything over the ensuing month, and the employee complained again that her co-worker continued to yell at her and insult her, saying she was at her “wit’s end.” Still, nothing was done.

One month after the employee’s second complaint and two months after her initial complaint, the employee claimed the co-worker slapped her across the face three times. She reported this to the employer and filed a police report, but her employment was terminated the same day after 19 years of service.

Not surprisingly, the employee won a claim of wrongful dismissal and the employer was ordered to compensate her for lost pay in lieu of reasonable notice. The court also found the employer was guilty of bad-faith conduct when it failed to investigate the employee’s harassment complaints or discipline her abusive co-worker, terminated her as a reprisal for her complaints, and didn’t provide her with her statutory entitlements upon termination.

This warranted an extra $50,000 in aggravated damages, for a total award of more than $194,000.

It’s likely that when the company president in the above case received the employee’s complaint, it was the last thing he wanted to have to deal with, and he most likely felt he didn’t have time to deal with it. But it doesn’t really matter, because he legally had to deal with it. Failing to prioritize the complaint and not getting around to investigating it spelled trouble in the end for the employer — trouble that was compounded when the employer dismissed the employee rather than deal with her continuing complaints.

The employee already was entitled to a good amount of common law reasonable notice, with 19 years of service, but the aggravated damages just piled on the high cost of the employer’s poor handling of the affair.

It’s not a good idea to push workplace harassment complaints to the side. If a company doesn’t have time to address them, then it’s going to have to make time to write some big cheques later.

Workplace harassment on the agenda as Canadian police chiefs meet in Calgary

Workplace harassment on the agenda as Canadian police chiefs meet in Calgary

August 15th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Global News The Canadian Press


How to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace is to be discussed as Canada’s police chiefs gather in Alberta for their annual meeting.

The conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in Calgary has attracted 425 delegates and is to address a number of human resources issues, including how to create a safer and healthier environment for employees.

The RCMP recently settled class-action lawsuits that will pay out millions to compensate for discrimination, bullying and harassment of female employees over the last 45 years.


Similar concerns have been expressed by female officers in Calgary, which prompted a review of the force’s human resources branch.

“Obviously the topic is right on point. We’ve brought speakers in from all over the world to speak on these types of issues,” Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld told a news conference Monday.

“We’ve got lots of work to do and … as our environment changes and as society changes we will continue to have work. The work we’re talking about here I don’t think will ever be done.”


Association president, Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer, said harassment exists in many different professions, but none has the same level of scrutiny as law enforcement.

“We’re always under the microscope for everything we do … rightfully so because we have extraordinary powers in society and everything that we’re doing tends to come to the forefront more than other occupations.”

Lessons learned from the RCMP lawsuits are likely to be discussed at the three-day conference, Palmer said.

“Nobody is doing this perfectly and there’s no magic bullet that anyone’s found.”

Palmer added that attitudes are changing as an increasing number of veteran officers continue to retire.

Workplace Changes Coming September To Federally Regulated Companies

August 15th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace
SOURCE: Last Updated: August 14 2019

Article by Lori SterlingJohn Gilmore and John C. Batzel

This fall there will be significant labour reforms in the federal sector.

As well, consultations will continue on pay equity, pay transparency, protection of wages where the employer is bankrupt, sexual harassment, accessibility for persons with disabilities and reforms of labour standards to deal with part-time and temporary workers.

Here are the key changes for this fall.

Unpaid Interns

Unpaid internships are no longer allowed in federally regulated workplaces unless the student is part of a workplace learning experience that is a mandatory part of an educational program. The educational program must be at a recognized post-secondary or vocational educational institution. This reform was designed to halt the increase in unpaid internships.

Even if a student is allowed an unpaid internship, he or she is still subject to selected Canada Labour Codeprotections including general holidays, breaks, notice of schedule of work, maximum hours of work, maternity, bereavement, medical and other leaves. The unpaid intern is also covered by occupational health and safety protections and the new sexual harassment provisions.

All other students will be considered employees and entitled to the full range of labour protections including minimum wage.

New Employment Standards

These reforms relate to employment standards legislation passed in 2017 as well as some of the labour reforms passed in the 2018 Budget.

(i) Flex Work

Where an employee has at least six consecutive months of continuous employment, he or she will have the right to request flexible work arrangements. The employer has to consider the request but does not have to grant it where there are operational or financial reasons for the denial. Both request and response have to be in writing.

(ii) Leaves

  • There is a new personal leave of up to five days with the first three days being paid. This leave is more generous and replaces prior medical leave provisions.
  • There is a new provision requiring leave for court or jury days.
  • There is an increase in entitlement to bereavement leave from three day to five days as long as an employee has three consecutive months of continuous employment. Only three of the five days are paid leaves. This leave need no longer be taken at one time.
  • Indigenous persons can take up to five days for traditional practices.
  • There is also a new leave to deal with victims of family violence. An individual can request up to ten days with five of these days being paid.
  • There is no increase in vacation time. However, employees can now take annual vacations in more than one period.
  • Employees will have the right to request replacement of a holiday which they have to work with any other day.
  • In the longshore and other similar industries, employees are employed by multiple employers. The new regulations combine these employers for purposes of being eligible for certain leaves including the new ones noted above.

(iii) Hours of Work, Overtime and Notice of Schedule Change

There are new provisions to deal with overtime work. Where the employer agrees, employees may take time off instead of receiving pay for overtime hours worked.

Employers are also required to provide at least 96 hours’ notice of a schedule change and 24 hours’ notice of a shift change unless there is an emergency. Employees can also refuse overtime in some circumstances.

Where the nature of work necessitates an irregular distribution of hours of work, an employer can average those hours over a period of two weeks or more. This provision is particularly important in the transportation industry where an employee can work an extended period of time in one shift. The Regulations make it clear that any paid days for personal leave or family violence leave are included in the calculation of the average hours of work.

(iv) Record Keeping and Posting

There is also a new requirement for employers to keep records for a period of at least three years after the work is performed. As well, all employment standards have to be posted in an accessible location.

Compliance and Enforcement

The main reforms relating to administrative monetary penalties will not come into force until 2020 but in the fall of 2019 there will be the coming into force of the transfer of powers to the Canada Industrial Relations Board of appeals relating to occupational health and safety, labour standards and wage earner protections of a bankrupt firm.


The reforms listed above are significant but there are still many reforms that have been legislated but are not yet in force. The federal election in October 2019 may have slowed down implementation of the remaining reforms until at least the spring of 2020. As well, the outcome of the election may impact which reforms ultimately do come into force. Labour provisions are frequently changed when there is a change in the political party that forms the government.

If the Liberal government is re-elected, it is possible that there could be further reforms as the government appointed an independent panel on federal labour standards to consider further reforms. That report has just been published and has extensive recommendations including a freestanding federal minimum wage.

Even in the absence of further reforms, if all existing reforms are implemented, it will be the most significant reform of the Canada Labour Code in the last 50 years.

Stay tuned as we will be tracking these reforms in the coming year.


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