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About 300 people - including CUPE members - attended a ground-breaking conference on workplace bullying and psychological harassment at the University of Victoria Nov. 11-14.

The conference, “Creating Respectful Workplaces,” featured evening presentations open to the public and advanced training for CUPE members on combating bullying and psychological harassment and how to support members who are being bullied.

Keynote speaker Barbara Coloroso moved conference-goers with her address, “The Bully, Bullied, and Bystander”.

Dr. Gary Namie, one of North America’s foremost authorities on workplace bullying, spoke on “Workplace Bullying: Health Hazard and Moral Quagmire.”

Victoria MLA Rob Fleming spoke on how laws need to change and Claude Généreux gave a history of the evolution and progress on issues of workplace violence, harassment, and bullying over the last century.

Généreux also told delegates about psychological harassment legislation that came into effect in June, 2004 in Québec. He recognized the work of conference sponsors and called on CUPE locals and district councils to offer similar opportunities for members across Canada.

Delegates attended two panel discussions featuring labour lawyer Leo McGrady, human rights complaints advisor Rachel Reaugh, and others that considered the topics “Root Causes and Remedies” for bullying and harassment and “Creative Ideas for Changing Workplace Cultures” which examined how unions and employers can work together to change culture.

CUPE Locals at University of Victoria and Royal Roads, the UVic Equity & Human Rights office sponsored the conference in association with the Vancouver Island District Council, and CUPE National’s Health and Safety and Equality Branches.