HAI Canada Anti-harassment Policy and Procedures
HAI Canada Anti-harassment Policy Statement
HAI Canada is committed to fostering a harassment-free environment where all are treated with respect and dignity.
HAI Canada is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination, including:
- Developing policies and procedures to create a harassment-free environment
- Providing training and education to ensure everyone knows their rights and responsibilities
- Regularly monitoring organizational systems for barriers relating to the Human Rights Code
- Providing an effective and fair complaints procedure
- Promoting appropriate standards of conduct at all times
The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or pardoned conviction.
In addition, the Ontario Human Rights Act prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on citizenship, sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding), gender identity and gender expression.
Harassment, including sexual and gender-based harassment, at HAI Canada is not tolerated. HAI Producers, Board members, employees, participants, team members, volunteers and workshop leaders who are found to have harassed another individual will be subject to appropriate consequences depending on their role and the nature of the transgression. This includes anyone who interferes with the resolution of a harassment complaint; retaliates against an individual for filing a harassment complaint; or files an unfounded harassment complaint intended to cause harm.
This policy applies to all Facilitators, Board members, Producers, employees, team members, workshop leaders, volunteers and participants of HAI Canada.
This policy applies to HAI workshops and HAI events.
Harassment: offending or humiliating someone physically or verbally; threatening or intimidating someone; or making unwelcome jokes or comments about someone’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or pardoned conviction.
Examples of harassment include:
- Unwanted remarks, jokes or innuendos about somebody’s appearance, sexual orientation, gender, weight, ability, relationship status, ethno-cultural background, socio-economic status and/or mental health
- Verbal abuse, threats, insults and pressuring
Sexual harassment: offensive or humiliating behaviour that is related to a person’s sex; behaviour of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile or offensive environment; or behaviour of a sexual nature that could reasonably be known to be unwelcome or unwanted.
In the Ontario Human Rights Code, sexual harassment is “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.” In some cases, one incident could be serious enough to be sexual harassment.
The reference to comment or conduct “that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome” means that there are two parts to the test for harassment. First, we have to consider if the person carrying out the harassment knew how their behaviour would be received. Second, we must consider how this behaviour would be received, in general, by a reasonable person – this can help us think from the perspective of a person who is being harassed.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Touching, kissing, patting, stroking, pinching, spanking or hugging without permission
- Making sexual advances that can be reasonably understood to be unwanted/unwelcome; leering, displaying sexually suggestive material
- Repeated requests for somebody’s contact information; contacting someone after an event without their permission and ongoing consent
- Invitations for dates or physical intimacy that can be reasonably understood to be unwanted
- Extending physical contact beyond what has been given permission for
- Crowding or continually talking to somebody who has expressed not being interested (or can be reasonably understood to be uninterested); following somebody around
Gender-based harassment: gender-based harassment may be defined as behaviour that polices and reinforces traditional heterosexual gender norms. It includes harassment for gender non-conformity, and often will look the same as harassment based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.
Examples of sexual and gender-based harassment include:
- Using language that puts someone down and/or comments toward a specific gender; gender or sex-specific derogatory names
- Making gender-related comments about someone’s physical characteristics or mannerisms
- Making comments or treating someone badly because they don’t conform with sex-role stereotypes
- Rough and vulgar humour or language related to gender
- Acting in a paternalistic or patronizing way that undermines another’s status or position of responsibility
Poisoned environment: a poisoned environment is created by comments or conduct (including comments or conduct not addressed or allowed to continue when brought to the attention of leadership) that create a discriminatory environment.
Qualified event leader: a person with appropriate knowledge, training and experience to lead a HAI event, who is familiar with this policy and procedures for identifying and dealing with harassment in HAI events.
HAI team member: a person who has been approved for team in their region and by HAI Global.
Participant: any person attending a HAI workshop or HAI event.
Volunteer: any person supporting HAI Canada in a voluntary capacity.
HAI event: defined in the policy HAI Canada Events, Lists and Leaders Policy.
Responsibilities and Expectations
HAI Canada is responsible for providing a harassment-free environment.
HAI Global is responsible for providing workshop content, trained facilitators and development of team training.
The HAI Canada Board is responsible for the development of this policy, reviewing this policy annually, or as required, and making necessary adjustments to ensure that this policy meets the needs of the organization.
The HAI Canada Executive Director and HAI Producers are responsible for day-to-day administration of procedures, appointing qualified event leaders for Introduction to Intimacy workshops, non-workshop events and delivery of team training.
The HAI Facilitator Liaison, HAI Canada Executive Director, HAI Producer and Chairperson of the Board (hereafter called the Senior Group) are responsible for ensuring that this policy is applied in a timely, consistent and confidential manner; determining whether or not allegations of harassment are substantiated, and determining what mitigating action is appropriate where a harassment complaint has been substantiated. They will also investigate claims of retaliation.
The Senior Group, Facilitators, event leaders, team members and HAI volunteers are responsible for fostering a harassment-free environment and setting an example of appropriate behaviour.
Participants are responsible for adhering to the Human Rights Code and HAI Global Participation Agreement and Release at all times.
All are responsible for treating others with respect at HAI workshops, events and in the HAI community in general; reporting harassment; cooperating with a harassment investigation and respecting the confidentiality related to the investigation process.
All can expect the following: to be treated with respect; that reported harassment will be dealt with in a timely, confidential and effective manner; to have their rights to a fair process and to confidentiality respected during a harassment investigation; and to be protected against retaliation for reporting harassment or cooperating with a harassment investigation.
The HAI Ontario Producers are responsible for communicating the contents of this policy to all participants prior to attending a weekend workshop. For HAI day-long workshops, Introduction to Intimacy workshops and social events, the policy must be available on all event postings shared through social media and/or email communications.
Procedures for Addressing a Harassment Complaint
HAI Canada strongly encourages anyone who feels they have been harassed to take immediate action.
If the person is willing and able, they are encouraged to raise the issue with the alleged harasser directly, with a view to resolving the issue by discussion. If possible, the person should identify the harassing behaviour, explain that the behaviour is unwelcome and offensive and ask that the behaviour stops. This can be done with the support of a Facilitator, Producer, Board Member, or team member if so desired.
If not willing or able, or in addition, they may report the behaviour in accordance with the relevant procedure listed below under ‘Filing a Complaint’.
Any reports of sexual harassment will be treated seriously and promptly with sensitivity. Such reports will be treated as completely confidential up to the point where a formal or informal complaint is lodged against a particular person, at which point that person and the Senior Group must be notified. Outside of these parties, confidentiality will be maintained.
Complainants have the right to determine how to have a complaint treated, to have support or representation throughout the process, and the option to discontinue a complaint at any stage of the process.
The subject of the complaint also has the right to have support or representation during any investigation, as well as the right to respond fully to any formal allegations made.
Filing a Complaint
Participants, team members, volunteers, workshop leaders, facilitators, producers, board members and employees may file a harassment complaint by contacting a Facilitator, the HAI Canada Executive Director, a Producer, Board Member or team member (see below for names and contact info). We also encourage you to use our online incident report form and we will respond promptly. If the subject of the complaint is a team member, the complainant may also choose to bring the complaint to the Accountability Council. Team members receiving a complaint will follow the process described in the team handbook for responding to a sexual violation.
The complaint may be verbal or in writing. If the complaint is made verbally, the person receiving the complaint will record the details provided by the complainant in writing. The complainant should be prepared to provide details such as what happened; when it happened; where it happened; how often and who else was present (if applicable). Complaints should be made as soon as possible, unless there are circumstances that prevent the complainant from doing so. Investigations will be conducted by HAI Canada’s Senior Group.
The person receiving the complaint will ensure that the Facilitator Liaison, Executive Director, Producer and Chairperson of the board (the Senior Group) are notified of the complaint immediately (unless they are the subject of the complaint, in which case the other members of the Senior Group will be notified). This will apply to all complaints including those resolved.
The Senior Group will tell the alleged harasser, in writing, that a harassment complaint has been filed. The letter will also provide details of the allegations that have been made against them.
The investigators will make recommendations taking into consideration the objective seriousness of the complaint and whether HAI Canada has received other complaints about the same person. Investigation findings and recommendations will be provided to the parties. The parties will be informed that an annual audit will be done, and they will be asked if they would like to be advised on the findings, if any, relevant to their incident.
Every effort will be made to resolve harassment complaints within 30 days. If this is not possible, the Senior Group will advise both parties of the reasons for this. If either party to a harassment complaint believes that the complaint is not being handled in accordance with this policy, they should contact The HAI Global Executive Director or the HAI Global Board Chair (see below for names and contact info).
Wherever appropriate and possible, the parties to the harassment complaint will be offered mediation prior to proceeding with a harassment investigation. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It is intended to assist the parties to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution to the harassment complaint. The mediator will be a neutral person, agreed upon by both parties. The mediator will not be involved in investigating the complaint. Each party to the complaint has the right to be accompanied and assisted during mediation sessions by a person of their choosing. The mediator will prepare a report that will include a description of the allegations, the response of the person the complaint was made against, a summary of the agreements made and the outcome of mediation. This report will be submitted to the Senior Group. Both parties to the complaint will be given a copy.
If mediation is inappropriate or does not resolve the issue, a harassment investigation will be conducted. All investigations will be handled by an individual from the Senior Group who has the necessary training and experience. The investigator will interview the person who made the complaint, the person the complaint was made against and any witnesses that have been identified. All people who are interviewed will have the right to review their statement, as recorded by the investigator, to ensure its accuracy. The investigator will prepare a report that will include a description of the allegations, the response of the person the complaint was made against, a summary of information learned from witnesses (if applicable), and a decision about whether, on a balance of probabilities, harassment did occur. This report will be submitted to the Senior Group. Both parties to the complaint will be given a copy.
If a harassment complaint is substantiated, the Senior Group will decide what action is appropriate.
Remedies for the person who was harassed may include:
- An oral or written apology from the person found to have engaged in harassment
- The option to speak with the person found to have engaged in harassment, to convey the impact of their actions; this can be done with support of somebody from the Senior Group or another person of the complainant’s choice, if desired
- An acknowledgement of the impact on the complainant by the person found to have engaged in harassment and/or others
- Hearing a commitment from the person found to have engaged in harassment that the offense will not be repeated
Corrective action for the person found to have engaged in harassment may include:
- Education or training
- Coaching or mentorship
- A reprimand
- Conditions placed upon their participation in HAI events
- Attendance at future events denied
Responses to an employee may include education, coaching, a reprimand, suspension, and/or dismissal. Both parties to the complaint will be advised, in writing, of the decision.
Any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of the harassment complaint may bring the issue forward to the Chairperson of the HAI Global Board or Executive Director of HAI Global (see below for names and contact information).
Privacy and Confidentiality
All parties to a harassment complaint are expected to respect the privacy and confidentiality of all other parties involved, and to limit the discussion of a harassment complaint to those that need to know. HAI Canada and all individuals involved in the harassment complaint process will comply with all requirements of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act to protect personal information.
HAI Canada will review this policy and procedures on an annual basis, and will make necessary adjustments to ensure that it meets the needs of all.
Enquiries about this policy and related procedures can be made to the Chairperson of the HAI Canada Board.
20 August, 2018
Links to identify key personnel
HAI Ontario Accountability Council Members
- Paul Bryan, Aukje Byker, Barbara Hannach, Birgit Langwisch