In February 2020, the Auditor General released a report that found significant levels of harassment, discrimination and workplace violence at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Correctional Service Canada (CSC) workplaces.
These concerning findings require immediate action from CBSA and CSC. We insist that the recommendations of this report be implemented now.
No strategy for harassment, discrimination and violence
Neither organization has a strategy to address harassment, discrimination and violence in the workplace. There is no framework to measure and report on harassment, discrimination and workplace violence. Employers are unable to effectively track or monitor these issues.
Inconsistent treatment of complaints
Harassment, discrimination and workplace violence complaints are handled poorly and inconsistently:
- employees are not always informed about informal dispute resolution mechanisms
- the employers do not always evaluate complaints before deciding if they will be accepted or dismissed
The complaint process is based on inconsistent decision-making and is vulnerable to personal bias. The Auditor General found workplace violence complaints that had not been investigated by the employer and had received no initial assessment.
No action taken to end harassment, discrimination and violence
For two years, CBSA has had a communication plan on its informal conflict management system and a respectful workplace strategy – which has not been implemented. CSC has completed assessments in 18 of 148 workplaces to develop a strategy in each unit, leaving 130 units without an assessment or strategy. A CSC department-wide respectful workplace campaign has been launched but without a strategy or measures to monitor the effectiveness of this work, it is impossible to track.
CBSA and CSC, like all federal employers, are obligated to provide their employees with respectful workplaces.
Neither CBSA or CSC have met their obligation to provide a respectful workplace.
In our 2019 round of central bargaining with the Treasury Board, we won historic language on harassment. For the first time in the Canadian public service, our collective agreements enshrine the right of a worker to a workplace free of harassment and violence.
We are building on this significant win and pushing the Treasury Board to end harassment, discrimination and violence in all workplaces. We demand safe and healthy workplaces for all. We demand the immediate implementation of all Auditor General recommendations from this report.
Auditor General report recommendations:
- CBSA and CSC should develop and implement comprehensive strategies to address harassment, discrimination and workplace violence. Each strategy should be based on risks and be supported by action plans with clear accountabilities and performance monitoring for continual improvement.
- CBSA and CSC should always inform employees of informal processes available for resolving complaints of harassment and workplace violence.
- CBSA and CSC should complete and document the results of their analyses to support decisions when handling harassment, discrimination and workplace violence complaints
Our members at CBSA and CSC are dedicated to their work and deserve safe and healthy workplaces as well as employers that take these obligations seriously.
We know that compounding this is understaffing in these agencies. PIPSC President Debi Daviau and Steward Éric Massey, Nurse at the Archambault Institution in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec made this clear to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights. Understaffing at CSC has left our members who provide healthcare especially vulnerable to workplace violence. This must be corrected.