How’s your psychological and sexual harassment policy coming along?

Psychological and Sexual Harassment Policies in Quebec

As most of you are probably aware, all nonprofits in Quebec are required to have a psychological and sexual harassment policy in place as of January 1st. That said, we know many of you (like us!) have been scrambling to get this together.

To be more specific, nonprofits are required to provide employees with an environment that is free from psychological harassment. This does not mean that your organization has to guarantee that there will never be any psychological harassment in the organization. Instead, you must

  • Prevent any psychological harassment situation through reasonable measures. In particular, by adopting and making available to their employees a psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy. This policy should include a section on behaviour that manifests itself in the form of verbal comments, actions or gestures of a sexual nature.
  • act to put a stop to any psychological harassment as soon as he is informed of it, by applying the appropriate measures, including the necessary sanctions.

Tools for Creating Your Nonprofit’s Psychological and Sexual Harassment Policy

Thankfully for those who haven’t had time to think this through, the CNSST has created an example policy that you can build off of. As they say in the example, you do need to adapt the policy to your context, including:

  • If you are managed in part by a Board of Directors
  • Whether your workplace is unionized
  • the ways your workplace culture and structure works specifically

Some of those questions are addressed in their Guide on the creation of a harassment policy. For many of you, we know that it will also be important to consider the values your organization has about sexual violence. Another nonprofit specific question is that the guide has very little to say about harassment coming from donors, or harassment being experienced by users or members of your organization.

You are also required to ensure that the people who are treating any complaints have adequate tools and training to identify and address harassment. The CNSST also provides video capsules that show some basic examples. A key question to ask is: does your organization need to seek or create further training on this issue?

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