Here is a summary of an interview with Marie-Eve Desmarais, coordinator of our Legal Information Clinic, and Anne-Estelle Taquet, project manager for workplace harassment awareness.
1. The YWCA is currently working on an awareness project about harassment in the workplace. Can you tell us more about it?
The Quebec government and the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), who are responsible for enforcing the Act respecting labour standards, have set up the «Programme d’aide à la sensibilisation des personnes salariées et des travailleurs autonomes en matière de harcèlement psychologique ou sexuel au travail». (Program to help educate employees and self-employed workers about psychological or sexual harassment in the workplace.)
The purpose of this program is to provide financial support to qualified organizations who will develop and offer initiatives to promote a harassment-free work environment. We are pleased that the YWCA has been selected by the CNESST to work on this project.
2. How does the YWCA fit into this project?
The work we have been doing for many years has allowed us to observe that due to a lack of experience, knowledge and resources, people in the process of entering the labour market (e.g., students, job seekers, newcomers, etc.) are particularly vulnerable to harassment.
We will offer training workshops about workplace harassment to participants in our programs, as well as to students in high schools, CEGEPs, universities and vocational training institutions.
More specifically, each workshop will include a preventive as well as an informative component.
3. What is the objective of these workshops?
The objectives are multiple:
- to prevent acts of harassment;
- to raise awareness of sexual and psychological harassment in the workplace among people about to enter the job market;
- to inform as many people as possible of their rights and their possible recourses in cases of harassment.
We conducted a survey on workplace harassment in December 2021 and January 2022. Among the 246 survey participants, we found that many people had little or no knowledge of their legal rights with respect to harassment. However, more than half of respondents were interested in taking workplace harassment training, which reinforces our commitment to this project.
4. When will the trainings begin?
Training sessions will begin at the end of April. Some CEGEPs have already reserved their dates.
The Clinic offers confidential and individual 30-minute consultations* by appointment with experienced volunteer lawyers and notaries on various legal issues:
- Family Law
- Immigration Law
- Criminal Law
- Civil Law
- Consumer Protection
- Administrative Law
- Housing Law
- Labour Law