The Yukon Human Rights Commission is launching a five-year campaign to target workplace sexual harassment across the Yukon. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Yukon Human Rights Commission launching campaign to target workplace harassment

Initiatives will include two conferences and training to prevent sexual harassment

The Yukon Human Rights Commission is launching a five-year campaign to target workplace sexual harassment across the Yukon.

“Our goal is to bring the Yukon community together and show everyone that no matter who they are or what their workplace role is — whether they are a government or a private company, a boss, a brand new employee, or a customer — everyone has a role to play in eradicating workplace sexual harassment,” said Gavin Gardiner, co-chair of the commission.

The campaign is working with First Nations, municipalities, employers’ organizations, unions, advocacy groups, chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and a number of other groups to develop materials.

The campaign will include training and educational tools, including toolkits, outreach sessions, in-person workshops, online training and investigation guides.

Over the next five years, the commission also plans to host two “major conferences” in March 2021 and 2023 that will bring Yukoners together to discuss the issue of sexual harassment in the territory.

The federal government has contributed $2.6 million in funding for the initiative.

Overall, 19 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men reported that they had experienced harassment in their workplace in the past year, according to Statistics Canada. That category includes verbal abuse, humiliating behaviour, threats, physical violence and unwanted sexual attention or sexual harassment.

Women were more likely to report sexual harassment in their workplace, at four per cent, and more than half were targeted by clients or customers. Men reported sexual harassment at less than one per cent.

The study from Statistics Canada broke down the likelihood by province but did not include Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut in their analysis.

The commission notes that little data exists for the territory, but “since its founding in 1987, the Commission has regularly received complaints about workplace harassment.”

Contact Haley Ritchie at haley.ritchie@yukon-news.com

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