Steps for Reporting Harassment in the Canadian Workplace

Most employees in Canada are aware that there are laws against workplace harassment, but they might not know what to do if they experience or witness it. According to Stacey Ball, employment lawyer in Toronto, there is a fairly specific process to follow to make sure your rights are protected and that the employer is aware of the issue as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Report the Harassment

Nothing will or can be done about the harassment if it isn't reported. Whether you’re the victim of the harassment or you’re a witness to it, report the incident immediately. While this can be done verbally or in writing, it’s usually best to document everything you’ve experienced or witnessed in writing. Complete a Notice of Occurrence Form, which can be obtained through the Government of Canada website or you can simply write down what happened.

Submit your report to your manager or supervisor unless they are the perpetrators. In that case, submit your report to your employer’s Designated Recipient. This person should be identified on your company’s human resources page or in other materials such as your employee handbook. You can also call 1-833-451-1604 to report the incident to a secure voicemail inbox.

While you can remain anonymous, it can be very challenging to resolve the situation without knowing who you are. Anonymous reports will be forwarded to the local Workplace Health and Safety Committee for review and a determination of follow up actions.

Step 2: Wait for the Initial Review

Your manager or supervisor or Designated Recipient will review the report to ensure all information is complete and correct. They will then take appropriate action based on the urgency of the claim. If they determine the situation is not urgent (meaning there are no immediate threats to your health and safety or, if you are a witness, that of the victim) they will notify the Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention (WHVP) Centre of Expertise within one calendar week of receiving the report.

Step 3: Participate in Resolution Process

You and your manager or supervisor or the Designated Recipient will work together to determine if the incident meets the definition of harassment. If it doesn’t, the case will be closed. If it does, the resolution process will move forward. You may be required to participate in meetings with your supervisor or manager, the responding party, the Designated Recipient, and anyone else who is involved. Everyone participating in the process must make every effort to resolve the issue.

You will be required to discuss the incident and provide your resolution ideas. If a resolution can’t be attained, the process may move to conciliation, which can include mediation and alternate dispute resolutions. At the same time or after conciliation, there will be a prevention investigation to determine the root cause of the harassment and make recommendations to the employer for preventing another instance from occurring.


The steps provided here for reporting harassment in the Canadian workplace are intended to resolve the issue without involving the courts. However, this process may not solve your personal harassment situation, so if you’re in a situation that appears to be headed for legal action, contact an employment lawyer right away to protect your rights.

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Posted - 11/16/2022