Ridout Barron


Politicians face harassment in the workplace

An interesting move in Manitoba has launched to protect politicians from bullying in the workplace, according to Canadian news. Alberta residents may be interested to hear their neighbouring province is working to protect especially female politicians from workplace harassment that can influence elections. The move would include politicians under the umbrella of the Health and Safety Act and, if successful, could cause similar legislative updates in provinces across Canada. 

The move was preceded by a local councillor who called for changes to be made after the mayor of a small Manitoba community voluntarily resigned. The former mayor claimed to have been bullied in her office and pointed out the lack of a series of checks and balances designed to rein in the poor behaviour of elected officials. The only recourse that currently exists is to lodge an official notice that other members of council disapproved of the behaviour. 

The resolution is designed to protect politicians under the same guaranteed rules that pertain to employers and employees across the province. This would create a mechanism whereby bullying and other forms of harassment could be dealt with in the same way in offices of governmental authority as it is in private businesses, including room for official punishment. The initiative is still under review by the province. 

Harassment and bullying are inappropriate in any Canadian workplace, both here in Alberta and throughout the nation. Given politicians are employees of the state and therefore of Canadians at large, they should be protected as much from this behaviour as anyone else. Offering legal recourse to individuals who feel harassed in their workplace is a good first step toward changing prevailing behaviours the nation over. 

Source: CBC News, "Push to protect politicians from workplace bullying heading to AMM in November", July 22, 2017

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