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The Canada Labour Code and Sexual Harassment

The Canada Labour Code applies to those who perform a function or duty on behalf of the Government of Canada.

This includes most federal Crown Corporations and federal Special Operating Agencies; private businesses which are necessary for the operation of a federal Act.

It also applies to federal undertakings or businesses, including: marine shipping services such as the operation of ships anywhere in Canada, a line of ships or a ferry service extending beyond the borders of a province, or of Canada, ports; air transportation, including airports and aerodromes, airlines; railways; road transportation (crossing provincial or international borders); canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders); telephone, telegraph and cable systems; radio and television broadcasting (including cablevision); banks; grain elevators and feed and seed mills; uranium mining and processing; business dealing with protection of fisheries as a natural resource; many First Nations activities.

The Canada Labour Code defines sexual harassment as follows:

DIVISION XV.1 SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Definition of "sexual harassment"
247.1 In this Division, "sexual harassment" means any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature

(a) that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or
(b) that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.
R.S., 1985, c. 9 (1st Supp.), s. 17.

Right of employee
247.2 Every employee is entitled to employment free of sexual harassment.

R.S., 1985, c. 9 (1st Supp.), s. 17.

Responsibility of employer
247.3 Every employer shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment.

R.S., 1985, c. 9 (1st Supp.), s. 17.

Policy statement by employer
247.4 (1) Every employer shall, after consulting with the employees or their representatives, if any, issue a policy statement concerning sexual harassment.

Contents of policy statement
(2) The policy statement required by subsection (1) may contain any term consistent with the tenor of this Division the employer considers appropriate but must contain the following:

(a) a definition of sexual harassment that is substantially the same as the definition in section 247.1;
(b) a statement to the effect that every employee is entitled to employment free of sexual harassment;
(c) a statement to the effect that the employer will make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment;
(d) a statement to the effect that the employer will take such disciplinary measures as the employer deems appropriate against any person under the employer's direction who subjects any employee to sexual harassment;
(e) a statement explaining how complaints of sexual harassment may be brought to the attention of the employer;
(f) a statement to the effect that the employer will not disclose the name of a complainant or the circumstances related to the complaint to any person except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking disciplinary measures in relation thereto; and
(g) a statement informing employees of the discriminatory practices provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act that pertain to rights of persons to seek redress under that Act in respect of sexual harassment.
Publicity
(3) Every employer shall make each person under the employer's direction aware of the policy statement required by subsection (1).

R.S., 1985, c. 9 (1st Supp.), s. 17.

To view the complete Canada Labour Code, visit the Department of Justice, Canada.

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