Bartenders, servers and others in Ontario’s hospitality sector are learning to identify and intervene in instances of sexual violence and harassment among employees and patrons.
Through a $1.7 million investment over three years, the Ontario government will provide workers with the tools to intervene safely and support survivors of sexual violence and harassment. Funding will support training for frontline workers in the hospitality, health, education, and community services sectors.
Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, said: “We know Ontarians want to respond to sexual violence and harassment when they see it. These training projects will empower frontline workers to step in and give them the tools to do so safely and effectively.”
“In Ontario, everyone should be free from the threat of sexual harassment at work. We are all entitled to feel safe and be safe while working,” said Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour.
Earlier this year, Ontario also passed the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment). The Act will make workplaces safer and improve support for survivors through legislative amendments that come into effect on September 8. Empowering workers is an important step toward ending sexual violence and harassment in Ontario.
The training and legislation are part of It’s Never Okay – Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. The plan is helping to change attitudes, improve supports for survivors and make workplaces and campuses safer and more responsive to complaints about sexual violence and harassment. It will help ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety and free from the threat, fear or experience of sexual violence and harassment, a government statement said.
- One in three women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime.
- Most Ontarians ‘strongly agree’ that they have an obligation to intervene if they witness sexual violence (64%) or sexual harassment (58%).
- Key barriers to intervention include not knowing how to respond, concerns about personal safety, and fear of jeopardizing employment. – CINEWS