Union survey finds widespread harassment, discrimination at Veterans Affairs Canada

Membership survey by Union of Veterans Affairs Employees finds widespread reports of workplace harassment and discrimination. Union's president Virginia Vaillancourt says she's raised workers' concerns with management and is dissatisfied with the response.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — One of the unions representing workers at Veterans Affairs Canada is alleging widespread harassment and discrimination within the department following a survey of its members.

The Union of Veterans Affairs Employees says more than one-third of the 350 Veterans Affairs staff members who responded to the survey reported having experienced harassment in the workplace.

The union says the survey also found that 19 per cent of respondents reported having faced discrimination based on their background, gender or sexuality.

The union's national president Virginia Vaillancourt says she has brought the concerns to Veterans Affairs but that she remains unsatisfied with its response to date.

Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Emily Gauthier says the department has taken action to reduce discrimination and harassment, including through training and a new workplace safety centre.

Gauthier adds that a governmentwide survey conducted in 2019 included more Veterans Affairs employees than the one conducted by the union, and showed a decrease in harassment and discrimination from the previous year.


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