OAG Audit on Respect in the Workplace
- I thank the Auditor General for his work.
- The Government welcomes the findings and recommendations in the Auditor General’s report.
- The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring all its employees are treated with respect and dignity while at work.
- The CBSA is taking action to build on initiatives that are already underway to ensure a healthy workplace for all its employees.
- The CBSA takes all allegations of harassment seriously.
- Following investigations where all parties are represented, if allegations are determined to be founded, appropriate discipline will follow.
- The CBSA has established a Centre of Expertise to educate and prevent harassment complaints. Additionally, the Centre provides for comprehensive and consistent management of cases, as well as the ability for systematic and rigorous data capture, to measure and report on our progress on an annual basis.
- The CBSA will continue to work with all employees to actively build a healthier culture that is free from workplace harassment, discrimination and violence.
If pressed on fear of reprisal:
- The Government of Canada wants its employees to know they work for an organization that cares about them and puts them first.
- To that end, confidential complaint disclosure procedures are in place at the CBSA, and are being promoted with employees, so they know they have mechanisms available to them.
- All allegations are reviewed in an impartial and objective manner, regardless of rank.
- Employees also have access to outside resources such as the Office of the Public Service Integrity Commissioner.
The CBSA has a zero tolerance policy for harassment in the workplace.
In July 2018, a new hub, called the National Integrity Centre of Expertise (NICE) was created to bring together the new Harassment Prevention and Resolution Office, the Values and Ethics Office, and Informal Conflict Management Office. The NICE is a national one-stop centre for all employees to turn to for information, support and guidance.
The Centre has developed concrete measures, a communication and an outreach strategy in order to better respond to allegations of inappropriate behaviours in the workplace.
Notably, the Centre has developed an online harassment allegations form for facilitating the reporting of inappropriate or disrespectful behaviours that can be submitted to a generic mailbox monitored hourly.
The Centre has also developed service standards and is now providing personalized acknowledgement within 2 business days. Furthermore, over the last months, the Centre adopted a proactive approach to resolve the workplace issues at the lowest level possible through the informal conflict management systems (ICMS) which has proven to be quite successful. The Centre has also increased awareness activities through various forum in order to promote a respectful and civil workplace.
Additionally, the Agency is currently working to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to foster a respectful workplace culture free of incivility and harassment. This strategy will be three-fold as it seeks to enhance current preventative measures, improve response mechanisms and ensure attention to workplace restoration. For instance, some of the actions that the CBSA will implement as part of the strategy will include first-level supervisor training and organizational learning, which will help build the capacity for early conflict resolution, build resiliency and competency, and ensure collaboration.
The new strategy will also account for the implementation of Bill C-65 to ensure that employees better understand their rights and access the appropriate complaint mechanism.
With respect to training, all new CBSA employees are required to complete the Occupational Health and Safety in the Workplace and Violence Prevention in the Workplace training courses within their first month of employment.
Within six months of employment, employees must also complete courses on: Mental Health Awareness; Values, Ethics and Disclosure of Wrongdoing; Creating a Respectful Workplace; and Diversity and Race Relations. In addition, targeted learning and information sessions on Civility and Respectful Workplace best practices are being delivered throughout the year.
In order to further promote ongoing learning opportunities and to ensure workplace support, advisory services are available through the CBSA’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Homewood Health, the Agency’s external service provider. Mental Health First Aid training continues to be rolled out to priority groups who are more likely to be faced with someone in distress and requiring assistance.
Prepared by: Julia Tokarew, A/Chief of Staff, Human Resources Branch, 613-948-3186
Approved by: Louise Youdale, Vice President, Human Resources Branch, 613-948-3180
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