Stricter workplace harassment rules to apply to online spaces too, labour minister says

OTTAWA—Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says stricter rules to crack down on harassment in federal workplaces reflect the fact that colleagues no longer restrict their interactions to daytime hours at the office — or even real life.

Hajdu says many of the jobs that will fall under the proposed legislation to support safe federal workplaces — including Parliament Hill — involve after-hours receptions, emails and social media exchanges where the same prohibitions and policies should apply.

That is why Hajdu says Bill C-65 does not define harassment, because it needs to be flexible enough to address new frontiers like cyberbullying or any other behaviours that develop in future years alongside the changing nature of the workplace.

The proposed changes would merge separate labour standards for sexual harassment and violence, subjecting them to the same scrutiny and dispute resolution process, which could mean bringing in an outside investigator to review allegations.

The new rules would also bring parliamentary staff under the Canada Labour Code for the first time.

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