Human & Workers’ Rights

JS Woodsworth said “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.” This quote has been embraced as the slogan of the BC Federation of Labour and captures the sentiment of the labour movement.  

It isn’t just altruism. Our shared success depends upon ending all exploitation and oppression. Unions and labour federations actively advocate and resource campaigns to improve rights and conditions for indigenous people,immigrants, LGBTQ2S+, the disabled, and other marginalized people.  International solidarity work carries these efforts beyond our borders with the understanding that all of our rights are interconnected.

Respect in the Workplace and Bullying & Harassment

For public sector employees in BC, the BC Government website has significant information with definitions, processes, check lists and other useful resources.

All residents of BC are covered by the Human Rights Act and have access to the BC Human Rights Tribunal. It provides information about compensation for significant  breaches of respectful workplaces. Please also see remedies section and other information on this site.

WorkSafeBC has a downloadable booklet on bullying and harassment, which are breaches of respect. While these issues are covered, it is a high bar to make a claim. According to WorkSafeBC:

  • Employers are responsible for:
    • creating policies that outline expectations for respectful behaviour and clearly prohibit harassment/bullying;
    • educating staff and supervisors on what constitutes workplace harassment/bullying and how to address/remedy it;
    • setting up a clear system to facilitate the confidential reporting of harassment;
    • objectively investigating claims of potential harassment as soon as they come to their attention; and
    • remedying harassment by holding employees accountable for unacceptable behaviour towards others.
  • Supervisors are responsible for:
    • actively monitoring their department for signs of harassment;
    • immediately responding to and addressing potential harassment;
    • ensuring they behave in a manner consistent with the legislation and policies; and
    • fully complying with all employer policies regarding workplace harassment/bullying.
  • Employees are responsible for:
    • not engaging in or supporting the harassment/bullying of others (including workers, supervisors and others);
    • immediately reporting to the employer if they think they are being bullied/harassed; and
    • immediately reporting to the employer if they have observed someone else who, in their view, may be being bullied/harassed.

Workplace Health and Safety

Canadian Labour Congress Resource Page on Workplace Health and Safety. Canadian workers have the right to refuse unsafe work, the right to be informed about hazards in the workplace, and the right to participate in health and safety discussions. Employers must fulfill their obligations to keep workers safe.

  • Mental Health at Work. Having good mental health means generally feeling good and being able to cope with everyday life at home and at work. Positive mental health means finding that balance in all parts of your life: social, physical, spiritual. 
  • Domestic Violence at Work. Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviour used by one person to gain power and control over another with whom they have or have had an intimate relationship. It can include physical, emotional, sexual, financial, psychological and/or spiritual abuse, as well as stalking or harassment. 

BC Privacy Laws

The “Modernizing British Columbia’s Private Sector Privacy Law” report reviews, and recommends to the government, changes to the freedom of information laws (PIPA) regarding the private sector.

International Labour Organization

ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work is an expression of commitment by governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations to uphold basic human values – values that are vital to our social and economic lives. It affirms the obligations and commitments that are inherent in membership of the ILO, namely:

  1. freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  2. the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;
  3. the effective abolition of child labour;
  4. the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; and
  5. a safe and healthy working environment.