Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 06, 2015 15:31 ET

OFL Says Action Plan on Sexual Violence and Harassment Must Be Properly Funded and Representative

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 6, 2015) - The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) welcomes the Government of Ontario's action plan to address sexual violence and harassment but argues that the plan can only be effective if it is properly funded and representative of the experiences of women, LGBTQ community members and experts in workers' rights.

"The Ontario Federation of Labour and its affiliates fought for over 20 years for the introduction of the workplace violence and harassment protections in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but the Ontario government's response in 2009 was only an initial step that did not go far enough," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "Today's announcement responds to many of the concerns that the labour movement has raised, but we will be watching closely to ensure that it delivers on these important promises."

Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled "It's Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment," a suite of recommendations that proposes legislative change, public awareness, new tools and special training to address sexual violence and harassment in the workplace, on campus, in housing and in the community.

"For far too long, women and other vulnerable workers have been silenced and ignored by a system that perpetuates victimization and re-victimization at every level," said OFL Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Hutchison. "In the workplace, women and LGBTQ people face significant and differential barriers to safety, support, reporting, training, enforcement, and even benefits through the workers' compensation system."

"We are pleased to see the government finally recognizing that we cannot approach significant societal issues like sexual violence and harassment in a piecemeal way," said Ryan, "but any plan of this scope and magnitude cannot accomplish its goals unless women workers and labour experts on occupational health and safety are included amongst the stakeholders represented."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.

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