While aspects of Bill C‑65 take positive steps towards the prevention of violence in the workplace, CUPE strongly believes that harassment and violence incidents should not be handled by the employer alone.

“CUPE supports the federal government’s renewed focus on the prevention of violence, especially sexually related violence, but some of the specific changes contained in Bill C‑65 will not facilitate safe and accountable workplaces that boldly address violence issues,” said CUPE’s Airline Division Secretary-Treasurer Marie-Hélène Major today, in front of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Bill C‑65 proposes that incidents of harassment and violence should no longer be investigated by employer-employees health and safety committees.

“Our experience with the flight attendants we represent tells us that it is the fear of reprisals from their employer that keep victims from coming forward,” added Major. “Limiting the role of health and safety committees will lead to a chilling effect on reporting and increase the opportunity for all violence including systemic harassment, sexual violence and assaults to remain unaddressed in the workplace.”

“The federal minister of Labour’s stated goals are to prevent violence, respond when violence occurs and provide support to survivors. Health and safety committees are amongst the best vehicles to accomplish all of these,” said CUPE’s Health and Safety Senior Officer Troy Winters. “The parliamentary committee must recommend amending Bill C‑65 to allow health and safety committees to continue do their jobs around incidents of violence.”

CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing 650,000 members across the country. Our federally regulated members work in communications, energy and transportation including airlines, light rail and ports.