By Christina Iannozzi, Western Law School
Canadians have the right to a workplace free from harassment. As Dickson C.J. noted in Reference Re Public Service Employee Relations Act (Alta.), “work is one of the most fundamental aspects in a person’s life … an essential component of his or her sense of identity, self-worth and emotional well-being.”  If work is a component of our identity, then the workplace is a manifestation of that identity. The laws regarding harassment have evolved, and so has their role in Canadian workplaces.
Harassment is defined in subsection 10(1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Because employees are entitled to work in an environment free from harassment, it is now an implied term of all employment contracts that the employer cannot perpetrate nor condone harassment. As such, employer inaction, or deficient action, in response to credible reports of harassment has been treated by the law as a violation of a term or condition of employment. Continue Reading Poisoned Workplace and Human Rights Systemic Remedies