Equity Policy

Implementation Date: March 22, 2022

Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (FACSFLA) maintains an ongoing commitment to providing services to children, youth, and families of diverse backgrounds that are free from discrimination, racism, and oppression.

FACSFLA also maintains an ongoing commitment to providing equitable access to child welfare services via responsive approaches to the unique identities and needs of the families, children, and youth that we serve.

We recognize that a diverse and inclusive workplace is crucial for effective and successful service delivery. We maintain an ongoing commitment to creating and sustaining a welcoming and inclusive environment for all persons who interact with us.

We acknowledge that the preservation of a respectful culture is a shared responsibility by the employer and the employees, Board of Directors, volunteers, foster parents, FACSFLA service recipients, and the families, youth, and children FACSFLA is involved with.


The purpose of this policy is to acknowledge diverse identities of those individuals working with and working within the organization. FACSFLA honours and supports individuality as well as larger geographical and ethno-cultural communities and recognizes that these facets of identity and culture can be varied and may be made up of many diverse groups, communities, and/or identities.


This policy pertains to all FACSFLA personnel, Board of Directors, volunteers, foster parents, and placement students. It applies to every level of the organization and every aspect of our working relationships.

External Providers:

Where the Society’s services are provided by external contractors or third parties based on a specification set by the Society, it is the expectation that these contractors or third parties are responsible for conducting themselves in a way that is consistent with this policy, the Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety legislation, and/or other related legislation. Services which the Society provides may also be covered by other policies and procedures that reflect our obligations under the Human Rights Code and/or other related legislation.



FACSFLA recognizes that racism, anti-Black racism, oppression in all its forms, and social inequality negatively impact outcomes for children and youth; therefore, the Society commits to ensuring that children and families of all diverse groups can access our services and that services are responsive to their unique needs. We also commit to establishing and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive environment for employees, volunteers, foster and adoptive parents, students, and Board members.


External Stakeholders:

The Society’s anti-racist, anti-oppressive, decolonizing approach towards equity is to ensure that all children, families, and their communities who come to the attention of the Society experience equitable and respectful service delivery that recognizes the many converging factors that impact service experience while concurrently ensuring adherence to the child welfare mandate.

Internal Stakeholders:

In addition, the Society commits to engaging employees and other stakeholders in a fair, unbiased, and just manner by working to eliminate barriers and/or providing accommodations based on respect for the dignity of every person, regardless of identity. FACSFLA is implementing positive changes in our workforce through growth and continuous learning to achieve access to and equity in outcomes for all employees, as well as the community who uses our services, and strives to create a harmonious environment which is free from oppression, discrimination, racism, harassment, and hate.




This policy aims to establish policies and procedures to support:      

  • Elimination of systemic discrimination and racism;     
  •  Promotion of diversity and inclusion through positive relations and attitudinal change, including access to employment opportunities and services;      
  • Ensuring that discriminatory, racist, and/or harassing incidents or behaviours from Board members, employees, students, volunteers, foster and adoptive parents, and service users are addressed with an understanding of zero tolerance with respect to these behaviours;      
  • Fostering an understanding and mutual acceptance of diversity among the Society’s Board members, employees, volunteers, placement students, foster and adoptive parents, and service users;      
  • Ensuring that the diverse needs of children and youth in the care of the Society are met, including (but not limited to) sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, culture, religion, language, and other forms of self-identification;     
  • Strengthening working connections with diverse organizations in the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington communities whose service users experience inequity and oppression;      
  • Establishing effective ways to address issues and concerns relating to workplace diversity, inclusion, discrimination, and/or harassment under the Workplace Violence Policy;      
  • Establishing a framework that requires all departments within the Society to embrace fairness and equity in all operations, including access to employment opportunities and service delivery;      
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress, and adapting strategies to ensure that the Society becomes a diverse and inclusive workplace at all levels; and      
  • Reflecting the diversity of the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington communities in FACSFLA’s employees, Board members, foster and adoptive parents, volunteers, and students.

Anti-oppression refers to engaging in work that critically examines how social structures and social institutions work to create and perpetuate the oppression and marginalization of those who have been identified as not belonging to the dominant group. A commitment to anti-oppression requires that we act by working towards achieving greater social justice and equality. Anti-oppression can also be understood as a framework that guides our day to-day practice, our interactions with others, and how we give meaning to our intersecting identities and life experiences. Disability covers a broad range and degree of conditions, some visible and some not.

Disability means any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness and (without limiting the generality of the foregoing) includes: 

  1. diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
  2. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  3. a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  4. a mental disorder; and/or
  5. an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. (Source: Ontario Human Rights Code )

Discrimination is showing of partiality or prejudice in treatment, specific action, or policies directed against the welfare of minority groups. Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of their human rights and freedoms without distinction, exclusion, or preference based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, civil status, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, immigration status, or the fact the person is a disabled or that the person uses any means to relieve their disability. Discrimination exists where such distinction, exclusion, or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such a right.

Diversity suggests the range of human characteristics found in our organization and our community. The diversity of these characteristics may include (but are not limited to) race, culture, ethnicity, language, faith/religion, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical and intellectual ability, income, family status, literacy level, educational background, housing, immigration/citizenship status, health status, and mental health status, among many other characteristics.

Inclusion refers to acknowledging, appreciating, and valuing people’s differences – strengths, talents, weaknesses, and fragilities – in a way that shows respect for the individual and helps to enrich the diversity of agency planning and the quality of decision-making for our service recipients and internal/external stakeholders. 

Equity refers to the quality of being fair, unbiased, just, inclusive, and giving respectful treatment to all people. Equity ensures a commitment to equal access to resources, opportunities, power, and responsibility. An equitable workplace environment helps the agency (including employees and internal and external stakeholders) to meet their full potential. Working towards equity and inclusivity is a process and requires identifying, assessing, and understanding the systems and processes that create and maintain barriers to inclusion. 

Equitable refers to justness or being characterized by fairness or equity. Equitable treatment can, at times, differ from same treatment.

Marginalization refers to relegation or confinement to a lower or outer limit or edge, as in social standing. The social process of marginalization refers to the lack of equitable access to social, political, and economic benefits (including health) on the basis of one’s membership in an identifiable group. 

Oppression exists when one social group exploits (knowingly or unconsciously) another social group for its own benefit. It results in privilege for the dominant group and disenfranchisement for the subordinated group. Over time, oppression does not require the conscious thought or effort of individual members of the dominant group, and unequal treatment becomes institutionalized, systemic, and looks ‘normal.’ (Source: adapted from Lopes, T. and Thomas, B. (2006). Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations) 

Power refers to the unearned (and often hidden) ability of individuals from the dominant/majority group to exert their influence over other individuals because of their race and/or social position. Power can also be the ability to control resources and/or information or make decisions and act on them to benefit one’s own interest. 

Privilege refers to the unearned advantages afforded to members of the dominant/majority group as a direct result of the oppression and marginalization of those who are not members of the dominant group. Privilege gives inequitable access to resources, information, and power based on race and/or social location.

Racialized Groups/Community refers to a group of people with a diverse background of culture, heritage, and religions, characterized by race as being a people of colour who are socially located as the subordinate group, and who have little or no access to social, political, or economic power. This term is used in Ontario by the Human Rights Commission to describe people collectively; it is preferred over ‘visible minorities,’ ‘person of colour,’ or ‘non-white,’ as it expresses race as a social construct rather than a description of biological traits. 

Racism is a set of practices and attitudes that discriminate against or seek to subordinate people because of their colour, race, racial heritage, and/or ethnic background. Racist behaviour may include name calling, abusive language, or violent or threatening behaviours. It is also reflected in deliberate acts of exclusion, such as denying or restricting access to services, promoting negative racial stereotypes, job and housing discrimination, and preferential treatment to individuals and groups of white, European descent. 

Systemic Discrimination occurs when social and organizational structures (including policies, procedures, and practices) exclude, limit, or restrict (whether intentionally or unintentionally) members of diverse groups from employment or opportunities within employment.


Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of all agency personnel. Nevertheless, Board members and management have an increased responsibility as employers under the Ontario Human Rights Code to provide a working environment that is free from harassment and discrimination, and to deal effectively, quickly, and fairly with any situations involving claims of harassment or discrimination that come to their attention by:      

  • Working with all employees to ensure effective discrimination and harassment complaints policy and procedures;      
  • Ensuring all complaints are resolved as quickly as possible;      
  • Ensuring that all complaints are fully investigated as outlined in the Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment Policies (where applicable); and      
  • Implementing diversity initiatives within their departments.


The provisions of this policy and related procedures in no way affect the right of any person to exercise their rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code or the grievance procedure as defined in the CUPE Collective Agreement, where applicable. If other means of filing a complaint are utilized, the agency may hold a complaint under this policy in abeyance in order to allow other processes to be completed and avoid dual processes regarding the same complaint.


All complaints will be handled in a confidential manner, subject to the requirements of a fair investigation, resolution process, and legal requirements. All documents related to a complaint and/or investigation will be maintained in a secure file by Human Resources and will not become part of the personnel file.


If it is determined that provisions of the policy have been violated, the appropriate members of management, with the support of Human Resources, will determine what consequences and actions are required to be taken with the respondent in order to remedy the situation. Consequences and actions required may include any combination of the following:      

  • An apology;      
  • Counselling;      
  • Education and training;      
  • Verbal or written discipline;      
  • Suspension without pay;      
  • Transfer; and/or      
  • Termination Additionally, the agency will identify any further steps necessary to offset the effects of the discrimination, racism, or harassment on the complainant and to prevent any further recurrences of policy violations.

Board of Directors:

  • Evaluate progress with regard to meeting agency objectives for diversity and inclusion once a year;      
  • Receive a report from the agency on progress at the Annual General Meeting; and      
  • Ensure that people of diverse race, linguistic background, ability, gender, religion, and sexual orientation are welcomed and included on the Board.

Senior Leadership Team:

  • Ensure that people of diverse race, linguistic background, ability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and age are welcomed and included at all levels of the organization;      
  • Demonstrate its commitment to the above by obeying legislation (e.g., employment equity, human rights) and by encouraging and developing organizational openness and inclusion;      
  • Create and maintain a workplace free from discrimination, racism, and harassment thereby ensuring equitable employment systems and daily practices;      
  • Work with the Board to establish concrete measures of increased organizational equity;      
  • Allocate adequate resources for diversity and inclusion work in the organization, including direct resources and funding to attract diverse candidates;     
  • Identify and source appropriate services that assist employees to deal with experiences of racism, oppression, and discrimination;      
  • Work with Managers to review employment, program, and service delivery policies to integrate diversity and inclusion as prescribed in this policy;      
  • Make the equity journey a standing Agenda item at Senior Leadership, Management, and Staff Meetings;      
  • Ensure prompt and effective application of Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment policies and procedures when a complaint is filed; and      
  • Recognize that an organizational audit can be done every two years to determine if the policy is successful and if organizational change is occurring (the audit would look at formal and informal practices in place at the agency and compare them to the agency’s goals for diversity and inclusion).

Executive Director – Yearly Monitoring:

  • Plan to monitor employee’s opinions of the agency on a regular basis, remembering that change is often a slow process (which will also help the Executive Director and management to know the strengths and weaknesses of the policy);     
  • Glean feedback from yearly monitoring on whether the Executive Director’s goals are being met and will help them plan for the future; and      
  • Glean understanding from exit surveys of employees that leave the agency, which may also indicate areas the Executive Director should address.

Equity Lead: 

  • Provide a written progress report as requested by Senior Leadership; and      
  • Report annually on measures to identify goals in working toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization to Board of Directors. 

Human Resources:      

  • Ensure that employees of the agency, at all levels, are representative of the diverse population we serve and strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals from equity-seeking groups, including (but not limited to) African Canadians, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+ people, etc.      
  • Access and utilize hiring resources where necessary to ensure that adequate efforts are made to attract and recruit candidates/employees from diverse backgrounds;      
  • Ensure responsiveness to the linguistic needs of service recipients via hiring practices and maintaining an up-to-date list of employees within the organization who self identify as possessing certain multi-cultural skill and/or knowledge, including those who speak languages other than English and French;      
  • Provide advice and guidance to employees and leadership as to what is and what is not a contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code, related legislation, this policy, and related policies (i.e., Code of Conduct policy; Discrimination, Harassment, and Violence policies, etc.); and      
  • Monitor, review, and update related agency policies and funding based on this policy, sector, and provincial best practices as it relates to equity and inclusion.

Managers and Supervisors:      

  • Are legally required to take responsibility for creating and maintaining a harassment, racism, and discrimination-free workplace (aligning with management’s additional responsibility to act immediately on observations or allegations (formal or informal) of harassment or discrimination, and as such, management need not wait for a complaint to act, and, in fact, are required to act if a violation is known or ought to be known by them);     
  • Ensure that people of diverse race, ability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and age are welcomed and included in the organization;      
  • Demonstrate commitment to equity by obeying legislation (e.g., employment equity, human rights) and by encouraging and developing organizational openness and inclusion;      
  • Create and maintain a workplace free from discrimination and harassment;      
  • Ensure that the equity policy and procedures are available and accessible to all employees, and that employees feel supported;      
  • Work with their teams to ensure equitable program and service delivery practices;      
  • Acknowledge and address any tensions that might arise from the anti-racism organizational change process;      
  • Do not ignore or condone behaviour that is contrary to the policy;      
  • Work with employees within the organization and partner organizations to ensure equitable relations with communities that experience discrimination and/or marginalization;      
  • Take all complaints seriously, discuss the situation with the complainant, and seek advice from Senior Leadership, the Equity Manager, and Human Resources while working in accordance with the procedures set out in the Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment Policies; and      
  • Create conditions for building community within the organization.

All Employees:      

  • Ensure that people of diverse race, ability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and age are welcomed and included in the organization;      
  • Learn and act together in equity;      
  • Refrain from discrimination, racism against, and harassment of co-workers, service recipients, volunteers, foster and adoptive parents, Board members, students, and any and all other individuals working for or on behalf of the organization;      
  • Are legally required to take responsibility for creating and maintaining a harassment, racism, and discrimination-free workplace;
  • Report instances where they believe there has been or there is the potential for discrimination, racism, and/or harassment as outlined in the Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment policies procedures;      
  • Cooperate with any investigation of harassment or discrimination, as required;      
  • Notify their Supervisor/Manager of their need for employment-related accommodations and consult with the Human Resources Department on the most appropriate accommodation;      
  • Report areas where they feel there may be barriers to equal opportunities;      
  • Attend training provided, when requested; and      
  • Be aware of available support services that the agency identifies.

These are some of the current organizational policies that are impacted by this policy:

  • Preventing Violence in the Workplace;    
  • Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities – Client Services;   
  •  Accommodation and Return to Work for Occupational and Non-Occupational Absences;    
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution;    
  • Employment Equity;    
  • Rules of Conduct;    
  • Use of Discipline; and    
  • Workplace Harassment

Workplace Harassment Policy:

The intent of this policy is to ensure that the Agency maintains its adherence to the spirit and provisions of the  and the Safety Act to encourage appropriate behaviour in the workplace and provide a mechanism for persons to bring forward concerns and issues related to harassment, sexual harassment, workplace violence, and discrimination should they arise in or sufficiently connected to the workplace. Harassment and discrimination which occur outside the workplace (e.g., office-related social functions, luncheon meetings, work-related travel, etc.) but are an extension of work or duties performed and which can have repercussions in the work environment are also covered by this policy.

Legislation/Regulations/Standards/Agency Policy
Definitions/Background/Explanatory Notes

The workplace is not only confined to the various offices and work locations of the Agency. It also includes washrooms, lunchrooms, outside work sites, on-road vehicles, and any other location where there is a connection to the work of the Agency or workplace.

Discrimination includes, but is not limited to, a differential act, system or behaviour which differentiates between individuals or groups, imposes a disadvantage or withholds an advantage, on the basis of any protected ground under the Human Rights code.

The Agency is obligated to ensure that no discrimination or unequal treatment, based on the prohibited grounds or types of discrimination as outlined above, occurs in the workplace.

Workplace Harassment, every person who is an employee has a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace by the employer or agent of the employer or by another employee because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (herein referred to as the OHSA), harassment is defined as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace, based on one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination, that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome”

Harassment or workplace harassment could include:      

  • Verbally abusive behaviour (such as yelling, insults, ridicule, and name-calling, including remarks, jokes or innuendos that demean, ridicule, intimidate, or offend);      
  • Workplace pranks, vandalism, bullying, and hazing;      
  • Gossiping or spreading rumours, regardless of whether they are malicious;      
  • Excluding or ignoring someone (such as persistent exclusion of a particular person from workplace-related social gatherings);      
  • Workplace supervision done in a demeaning or abusive manner;      
  • Humiliating someone;      
  • Sabotaging someone else’s work;      
  • Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials;      
  • Offensive or intimidating phone calls, emails, texts, or social media communications;      
  • A Supervisor/Manager impeding an individual’s efforts at promotions or transfers for reasons that are not legitimate;      
  • Making false allegations about someone in memos or other work-related documents;      
  • Menacing behaviours (including staring, glaring, inappropriate gestures, or unwelcome physical closeness); and
  • Taunting and intimidation.      
  • Bullying 

Although it is commonly the case, the harasser does not necessarily have to have power or authority over the recipient. Harassment can occur from colleague to colleague, Supervisor/Manager to Employee, and Employee to Supervisor/Manager. Respect in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility. Any acts that demean, harm, or exclude are counter to Agency culture and should be addressed promptly in accordance with the procedures set out below. 

Poisoned work environment refers to a hostile or uncomfortable place in which to work. Even if no one is being directly targeted, harassing comments or conduct can poison the work environment, making it a hostile or uncomfortable place in which to work. This is a form of harassment.

 Some examples of actions that can create a poisoned work environment include:      

  • Displaying offensive or sexual materials (such as posters, pictures, calendars, web sites, or screen savers);      
  • Distributing offensive email messages or attachments (such as pictures or video files);      
  • Practical jokes that embarrass or insult someone; or      
  • Jokes or insults that are offensive, racist, or discriminatory in nature. 

Sexual and gender-based harassment is a very specific form of illegal discrimination; the Code states that Employees have the right to be free from harassment in the workplace because of sex and gender. 

Sexual and gender-based harassment is a form of harassment that can include:      

  • Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or mannerisms      
  • Paternalism based on gender which a person feels undermines his or herself respect or position of responsibility      
  • Unwelcome physical contact      
  • Suggestive or offensive remarks or innuendoes about members of a specific gender      
  • Propositions of physical intimacy      
  • Gender-related verbal abuse, threats or taunting      
  • Leering or inappropriate staring      
  • Bragging about sexual prowess or questions or discussions about sexual activities      
  • Offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature about an employee or client      
  • Rough and vulgar humour or language related to gender      
  • Display of sexually offensive pictures, graffiti or other materials including through electronic means      
  • Demands for dates or sexual favours

The OHSA defines workplace sexual harassment as: 

  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker, in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making it is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know the solicitation or advance is unwelcome [section 1]. This definition of workplace sexual harassment reflects the prohibitions on sexual harassment and sexual solicitation found in Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Workplace violence (under the OHSA) is defined as:      

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against an Employee, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the Employee;      
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against an Employee, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the Employee; and      
  • A statement or behavior that is reasonable for an Employee to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the Employee, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the Employee. 

It is defined broadly enough and may include acts that may be considered criminal in nature. Workplace violence includes:      

  • Physically threatening behaviour (such as shaking a fist at someone, finger pointing, destroying property, throwing objects, etc.);      
  • Threats to physically attack an Employee;      
  • Threatening communications such as sending threatening emails;      
  • Possessing and/or wielding a weapon at work;      
  • Stalking someone; and      
  • Physically aggressive behaviours (including hitting, shoving, standing excessively close to someone in an aggressive manner, pushing, kicking, throwing an object at someone, physically restraining someone, or any other form of physical or sexual assault). 

All of the above activities are considered inappropriate. Therefore, a violation of this policy, the Code, and/or the OHSA will not be condoned by the Agency. 

Furthermore, it is also a violation of the policy for anyone with malicious intent to make a false complaint of harassment or violence, such as when a complaint is found to be frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith with fraudulent or malicious intent, or to provide false information about a complaint. 

Violence that occurs outside the normal workplace, but which has an impact on the working environment, including working relationships, may also be considered violence in the workplace.

Workplace violence may come from many different sources:      

  • Strangers or people with no ties to the workplace;      
  • People one works with;      
  • Other Employees; and/or      
  • Intimate relationships outside of work (such as intimate partners, family, friends, etc.) 

Workplace and domestic violence that may occur in the workplace are health and safety issues, which are covered under the OHSA. 

What is not harassment? Reasonable actions taken by an Employer or Supervisor/Manager relating to the management and direction of Employees or the workplace is not workplace harassment. Therefore, workplace harassment should not be confused with legitimate, reasonable management actions that are part of the work functions, including but not limited to:      

  • Measures to correct performance deficiencies (such as placing someone on a performance improvement plan);      
  • Imposing discipline for workplace infractions;      
  • Requesting medical documents in support of an absence from work;      
  • Enforcement of workplace rules and policies; and/or      
  • Reasonable workplace conflict that may occur between individuals or differences of opinion between co-workers.

The Agency upholds the principles of open communication within the workplace and the creation of a positive working environment where staff relationships are based on mutual respect and trust that supports the achievement of the Agency’s vision and values. The Agency is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully, and have equal opportunities. In compliance with the Code and the OHSA, the Agency has an obligation and responsibility to provide a work environment that is free of discrimination, workplace harassment, workplace sexual harassment, and workplace violence as defined under the Code and the OHSA. Discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and workplace violence are unacceptable and a form of employment misconduct. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated, condoned, or ignored at FACSFLA. If a claim of harassment or discrimination is proven, disciplinary measures will be applied, up to and including termination of employment.

The Agency is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination, including:      

  • providing training and education to make sure everyone knows their rights and responsibilities      
  • regularly monitoring organizational systems for barriers relating to Code grounds      
  • providing an effective and fair complaints procedure      
  • promoting appropriate standards of conduct at all times. 

This policy exists to underline the seriousness of this issue and to establish that there is no acceptable level of violence or harassment in the workplace. Therefore, individuals who violate this policy are subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action, up to and including termination of employment. 

This policy aligns with the Agency’s Equity policy, and applies to all employees of the Agency, volunteers, Board members, and anyone involved with the service of the Agency, to provide assurance that they can undertake their duties in the workplace, free from discrimination, workplace violence, harassment, and sexual harassment as defined under the Code and the OHSA. 

All individuals engaged in the Agency’s work environment are expected to uphold and abide by this policy by:      

  • Familiarizing themselves with this policy;      
  • Attending and participating in any training related to this policy;      
  • Asking their Director/Supervisor/Manager/Director of People and Culture for clarification on this policy if they have questions;      
  • Helping to promote a discrimination and harassment-free workplace;      
  • Refraining from workplace harassment as defined in this policy;      
  • Immediately reporting instances of actual or potential workplace harassment, whether directly experienced or witnessed or not, to the appropriate management Employee;      
  • Refraining from any form of harassment or discrimination;      
  • Reporting any forms of harassment or discrimination immediately (including any harassing or discriminatory conduct that an individual witnesses or is aware of but may not be the subject of);      
  • Cooperating fully in any investigation undertaken as a result of alleged violations of this policy; and      
  • Addressing and using the means available to address discriminatory behavior.

Role-specific expectations in upholding and abiding by this policy are as follows: 


  • Ensures that the Agency’s policy, practices, and conduct comply with the provisions of the Code and the OHSA;      
  • Ensures that all those protected by the policy are fully aware of the policy and their rights and protections under this policy, the Code, and the OHSA;      
  • Creates an environment that encourages prospective complainants to report all incidents of discrimination and harassment;     
  • Ensures that all discrimination and harassment complaints can be and are resolved quickly, fairly, and in a sensitive manner; and      
  • Conducts investigation that is appropriate in the circumstances.      
  • Protects all Employees from discrimination and harassment, and prohibit such activity from occurring in the workplace;      
  • Immediately initiates action upon receipt of, or even prior to, any actual complaint where discrimination or harassment is known to have taken place;      
  • Takes corrective or disciplinary action where a violation of this policy has been found to have occurred;      
  • Models respectful behaviour in the workplace;      
  • Ensures that Employees under their supervision receive adequate information and training on this policy;      
  • Reports any incidents or potential for harassment to the Director of People and Culture;      
  • Deals with all complaints or incidents of workplace harassment in a fair, respectful, and timely manner;      
  • Does not disclose any information obtained about a reported incident or complaint of workplace harassment (including any identifying information about the individuals involved) to anyone other than the individuals involved in the incident or complaint, except where disclosure is:
    • Necessary to investigate the incident or complaint;
    • Required to take correction action; or
    • Otherwise required by law; and     
  • Takes corrective action with anyone under their direction who subjects an Employee to workplace harassment.


  • All Agency Employees and those persons involved with or undertaking the Agency’s service have the responsibility of maintaining a positive and business-like workplace and ensuring that the work environment is free from discrimination and harassment.      
  • Every Employee is discouraged from and directed to not engage in any activity that may be perceived as constituting discrimination or harassment.

The provisions of this policy and the following procedures in no way affect the right of any person to exercise their rights under the Code or the grievance procedure as defined in the , where applicable. If other means of filing a complaint are utilized, the Agency may hold a complaint under this policy in abeyance in order to allow other processes to be completed and avoid dual processes regarding the same complaint. 

Complaints of discrimination, workplace violence, harassment, or sexual harassment may be reported to any of the following people:      

  • Director/Manager/Supervisor;      
  • Director of People and Culture; and/or      
  • The Union (for Union Employees only as any Union Employee who wishes to report a complaint of discrimination, workplace violence, harassment, or sexual harassment, or who has been accused of a possible violation) is entitled to Union representation during the investigation process. 

All complaints will be dealt with in a most serious manner and as promptly and discreetly as possible, with due regard for the rights of all parties. 

A person always retains the right to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal or, where appropriate, the police, should they choose to do so. 


The following procedures outline steps to take if an Employee feels they are being harassed and/or becomes aware of or witness situations where such conduct may be occurring: 

  1. Direct Communication
    1. Where there is an incident of discrimination or harassment, to the extent that they feel comfortable, complainants are encouraged to attempt to resolve their concerns by directly communicating with the person(s) engaging in the unwelcome conduct. An individual may not realize they are being offensive to other people.
    2. If the person continues to engage in offensive behaviour, and the employee continues to feel comfortable, they are to advise that such behaviour violates Agency policy.
    3. Employees are encouraged to consult with their Supervisor/Manager for assistance, if needed.
    4. Keep a record of the discussion, including the date, time of incident, names of any witnesses, where the incident took place, and other particulars.
  2. Report Incident
    1. Individuals who do not use Step 1 above or who do not have a satisfactory outcome at Step 1 may report the complaint to their Supervisor/Manager (or, if their Supervisor/Manager is giving rise to the complaint, to their Director, the Director of People and Culture, or the Executive Director).
    2. If the complaint pertains to a Director, the complainant will report the complaint to the Executive Director.
    3. If the complaint pertains to the Executive Director, the complainant will report the complaint to the Chair of the Board of Directors.
    4. If the complaint pertains to a Board Member, the complainant will report the complaint to the Board Chair, who may discuss the matter with the Executive Director.
    5. Should a management representative become aware of harassment in the workplace where no complaint has been made, a report must be made to the Director of People and Culture, the Executive Director, or their designates.
  3. Formal Complaint
    1. Upon initiation of a written complaint to the Director of People and Culture an investigation is conducted by the Director of People and Culture, Executive Director, Chair of the Board of Directors, or a third-party investigator, where applicable.
    2. The investigator interviews the complainant, and the complainant is asked to provide a signed written statement. The complaint form must contain:
      1. Name(s) of the respondent(s) to the complaint;           
      2. The date or dates of the incident(s);           
      3. Details of the incident(s); and          
      4. Names of any witnesses.
  4. Investigation
    1. The investigator is responsible to ensure a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation of the allegations in the complaint and matters which may arise during the course of the investigation. All individuals involved in the investigation of any complaint must maintain confidentiality with respect to said investigation and does not disclose any information except as necessary for the purpose of fully investigating the complaint. It is critical that confidentiality be maintained in order to preserve the dignity and self-respect of those involved and to preserve the integrity of the investigation. The investigator reminds the parties of this obligation to maintain confidentiality at the beginning of the investigation.
    2. The investigator interviews the complainant (the worker employee who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment) and asks the complainant to provide a signed written statement.
    3. The investigator interviews any witnesses or others the investigator identifies as potentially having any information relevant to the investigation and asks each of them to provide a signed written statement confirming their knowledge or lack thereof of the events. The investigator makes reasonable efforts to interview any relevant witnesses who are not employed by the Employer, if there are any identified.
    4. The investigator interviews the person who is named in the complaint (the respondent) if they are an Employee of the Employer. They ask the respondent to provide a signed written statement in response to the allegations.   
    5. The investigator must collect and review any relevant documents and other things, electronic or otherwise .
    6. The investigator must take appropriate notes and statements during interviews with the Employee who allegedly experienced workplace harassment, the alleged harasser, and any witnesses.
    7. The investigator prepares a written report summarizing the allegations, the investigation results, and addresses whether or not the complaint(s) is substantiated. This report will be filed with the Director of People and Culture (unless the allegations are pertaining to that person; in this circumstance, the report is filed with the Executive Director). Where allegations are made regarding the Executive Director, the investigative report is filed with the Chair of the Board of Directors.
  5. Results of the investigation
    1. The Employee who allegedly experienced the workplace harassment and the respondent (if they are an Employee of the Employer) are informed in writing of the results of the investigation and any corrective action taken or that will be taken by the Employer to address workplace harassment.
    2. If a claim of harassment or discrimination is proven, disciplinary measures will be applied, up to and including termination of employment. 
    3. If the complaint is unfounded, no documentation is placed in the Employee personnel file. All documentation is kept by the Director of People and Culture or Executive Director and is accessible only to them.
    4. Where, as a result of an investigation, it is determined or concluded that a malicious false accusation was made, disciplinary action up to and including termination may result against the complainant.
    5. Notwithstanding this policy and procedure, Employees may seek advice or assistance from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal at any time during the investigation process
  6. Mediation (Optional)
    1. In addition, if both parties agree, the Department of People and Culture may arrange for an independent third party to act as a mediator.
    2. Mediation is separate and apart from investigation of a complaint. It is recommended that this option be strongly considered prior to an investigation but is not a substitute for an investigation.
  7. Confidentiality
    1. All complaints are handled in a confidential manner, subject to the requirements of a fair investigation, resolution process, and legal requirements.
    2. All documents related to a complaint and/or investigation are maintained in a secure file by the Director of People and Culture. Any disciplinary letter will be maintained in the personal file.
  8. Prevention of Reprisal
    1. All those who exercise a right in this policy or who participate in the complaint/investigation process will not be subjected to any reprisal as a result.
    2. A person who believes that they have been subjected to reprisal should file a complaint with their Supervisor/Manager (or if the Supervisor/Manager is giving rise to the complaint, the person should file their complaint with the Department of People and Culture). 
    3. In situations where an Employee is concerned about where they feel comfortable directing the complaint, the Department of People and Culture will be consulted.
    4. Persons found to be engaging in acts of reprisal shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
  9. Annual Training
    1. Each year (at a minimum), the Agency will review this policy and provide training on this policy.
  10. Forms
    1. Employee Workplace Harassment Acknowledgment Form (Appendix A)
    2. Workplace Harassment Quiz (Appendix B)
    3. Workplace Harassment Complaint Form (Appendix C)
Appendix A

Employee Workplace Harassment Acknowledgement Form:

For Receipt of the Workplace Harassment policy:      

  • I have read, understand and agree to comply with the terms of this policy.     
  • I have had an opportunity to ask my Supervisor/Manager/Director of People and Culture questions, if any, concerning the content of this policy and seek clarification regarding any of the materials related to the Agency’s harassment program and they have been addressed.

Name: (Print) Signature: Team: Date:

Appendix B

Harassment Policy Quiz

  1. Workplace harassment may include
    1. Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or workplace sexual harassment
    2. Disagreements or misunderstandings
    3. Conflict between co-workers
    4. Spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or innuendo
    5. Both A and D 2) 
  2. What is workplace sexual harassment?
    1. Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against an Employee in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome
    2. Publicly criticizing or blaming others for errors or belittling a person’s opinions
    3. Making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement to the Employee, and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome
    4. Both A and C
  3. Any person who believes that they have experienced workplace harassment can bring forward a complaint without fear of reprisals.
    1. True
    2. False 
  4. All Employees are expected to:
    1. Familiarize themselves with this policy
    2. Attend training related to this policy
    3. Ask their Supervisor/Manager for clarification on this policy if they have questions
    4. Help promote a harassment-free workplace
    5. Refrain from workplace harassment as defined in this policy
    6. Immediately report instances of actual or potential workplace harassment, whether directly experienced or witnessed to appropriate management staff
    7. All of the above
  5. All incidents and complaints of workplace harassment should be reported in writing to their immediate Supervisor/Manager/Director and/or Director of People and Culture.
    1. True
    2. False 
  6. The investigator of a complaint is responsible to ensure a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation of the allegations in the complaint.
    1. True
    2. False
Appendix C

Request Workplace Harassment Complain Form from hr@facsfla.ca