It’s not a place where we want Saskatchewan to be a leader, but the province is above the national average when it comes to workplace harassment.
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According to Statistics Canada, 50 per cent of women in Saskatchewan have experienced harassment or sexual assault in the workplace. Data also shows that nearly 40 per cent of men in the province have also experienced harassment or sexual assault at work.
Those numbers reflect issues such as inappropriate sexualized behaviours, gender-based discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“We understand that everyone can be impacted by harassment in the workplace, but we also understand the role of intersectionality,” said Nicole White, the project lead for Enough Already, a coalition that is determined to address and prevent workplace sexual harassment in Saskatchewan.
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While the government recently expanded health and safety policies, experts say more can still be done.
“The number one thing that a Saskatchewan employer could do is create a space of proactive prevention,” White said.
University of Regina professor of occupational health and safety Sean Tucker said that based on other research, women are far more likely to experience sexual harassment, assault and sexual violence in the workplace than men. He added that this is a human rights issue and also an occupational health and safety issue.
“This is an important study because it provides us interprovincial comparisons and that’s really important,” Tucker said. “We’re still kind of digging into those numbers. In some ways, it’s not surprising. We’ve known from other studies about the high prevalence, and it reminds us again that we … we need to take action on this.”
In 2023, the Saskatchewan government amended the Saskatchewan Employment Act, which requires all regulated workplaces to have harassment policies in place and that all incidents of harassment in workplaces be investigated.
Workplace sexual harassment more common than you might think, according to Statistics Canada
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