Anti-Harassment and Workplace Violence Policy


Anti-Harassment and Workplace Violence Policy


In keeping with our core value of Respect, iSisters is committed to fostering an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, and workplace violence. Incidents of discrimination, harassment, or violence against other individuals are
unacceptable behavior and will be subject to disciplinary action. All employees, contractors, partners, learners, and volunteers have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and are expected to treat others in the same manner.


This policy applies to all employees, contractors, volunteers, and learners, including iSisters Board members (“individuals”). This policy applies during the course of any iSisters work, business, activity or event, including business trips, social events, work-related travel, and
work-related conferences or training sessions.


‘Harassment’ is defined as any offensive, hurtful or malicious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Harassment can be psychological, verbal, physical, or sexual, and may involve threats, intimidation, unwelcome remarks or
comments, offensive or derogatory jokes, posters, crude comments, leering etc. Harassment may relate to a form of discrimination set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code, but it does not have to. Harassment can involve one incident or a series of incidents.

‘Sexual harassment’ is defined as:

(a) 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

(b) 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 worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome;

The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines workplace violence as:

  • the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker;
  • an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker; or,
  • a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

As iSisters does not have a physical office, in the context of this policy, ‘workplace’ refers to any location where services are being provided by iSisters, including on-line or in-person at a partner centre.

Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to iSisters’ services and facilities, without discrimination based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, gender expression, marital
status, family status, disability, record of offences, association or relationship with a person identified by one of these grounds, or perception that one of these grounds applies. ‘Discrimination’ means denying equal treatment based on any of these grounds.

‘Discriminatory harassment’ includes harassment related to any of the discriminatory grounds per the Ontario Human Rights Code, which are listed above.


Every individual must work in compliance with this policy and the supporting process.

Management pledges to investigate and respond to all incidents and complaints of workplace violence, harassment, and / or discrimination in a timely and fair manner. We will endeavour to complete investigations as quickly as possible, and no longer than 90 days from when the complaint was filed.

1.0 Risk Assessment

To help ensure that potential risks are identified, iSisters will establish a process to assess any potential risks of violence throughout the workplace as often as is necessary and at least annually, and implement measures to address the risks identified in the assessment
or reassessment. Assessment will consider any past incidents, common risks at other similar workplaces and risks specific to iSisters in general. Measures may include security protocols, implementing additional policies and procedures and providing training to all

2.0 Reporting Incidents, and Complaint Resolution Process

Process for Getting Immediate Assistance When Needed

For immediate threats of violence, assaults or other violent incidents, contact 911. The individual should also inform the person in charge at the partner centre and the Executive Director as soon as possible, who will then report to all other appropriate parties

Examples: Immediate danger; weapons involvement; physical injury related to violent behaviour; and obvious signs of abusive threatening behaviour.

Process for Resolving Incidents Informally

Should an individual believe that they are a victim of discrimination or harassment, they may resolve the complaint informally by:

  1. Confronting the source of the unwelcome behaviour directly, by telling the person that their behaviour is unacceptable. This should be done as soon as the individual receives any unwelcome comments or conduct, and only if they are comfortable doing so.
  2. Notifying the Executive Director (ED). If the ED is the cause of the problem, the situation should be discussed with the Chair of the Board. If the ED is the one being harassed, they should discuss with the Chair of the Board or the Director of HR.
  3. The ED and individual will discuss the concern, develop an action plan and follow up periodically to ensure the situation has been resolved.

Process for Resolving Incidents Formally

All individuals who believe they have been subjected to, or have witnessed, workplace violence, harassment or discrimination are requested to immediately report the incident formally by:

  1. Making a formal complaint within six (6) months of the alleged violation. Generally speaking, the violation should be reported as soon as possible. In extenuating circumstances, the individual may make a formal written complaint after six (6) months from the alleged violation have elapsed.
  2. The report of the incident should include the following information:
    1. Name(s) of the person who has allegedly experienced workplace violence, harassment or discrimination (referred to as the Complainant) and contact information.
    2. Name of the person alleged to have violated the Policy (referred to as the Respondent), position or relationship to iSisters, and contact information (if known).
    3. Names of the witness(es) (if any) or other person(s) with relevant information to provide about the incident (if any) and contact information (if known).
    4. Details of what happened including date(s), frequency and location(s) of the alleged incident(s).
    5. Any supporting documents the Complainant may have in their possession that are relevant to the complaint.
    6. A list of any documents others may have in their possession that are relevant to the complaint.

Process for Investigating a Complaint

In an emergency situation, the ED must:

  • First ensure the safety of individuals and themself.
  • Ensure proper medical treatment is provided or sent for.
  • Contact the authorities as soon as possible, (police or Ministry of Labour, where appropriate), to report the incident.
  • After the situation is under control, the ED shall record the investigation of the incident, and safeguard records related to the incident (such as photos, recordings, chat roll, etc).

In a situation of a complaint of non-emergency harassment, discrimination or workplace violence, an investigation appropriate in the
circumstances will be conducted. The ED or delegate (such as the Director of HR or an external third party) will conduct the investigation. The investigator will gather information about the complaint such as:

  • Date of the incident(s).
  • Names of parties involved.
  • General description of the incident.

The investigator will inform the respondent of the complaint and provide a copy of the complaint, detailing the complainant’s allegations to the respondent. The investigator will invite the respondent to reply to the complainant’s allegations. The investigator may also interview any other person who may have information relevant to the complaint or incident(s) and/or gather additional documentation.

All participants will be reminded of their duty to keep all shared information confidential and not to discuss or share information about the complaint, the incident(s) or the investigation with others unless necessary to obtain advice about their rights.

The investigator shall make a finding as to whether there has been a violation of this Policy. In the event of a finding that a Policy violation has occurred, the investigator will then notify the Board of Directors of their recommendation and will determine the appropriate disciplinary action. If the harassment, discrimination, or workplace violence has been found to have occurred by the ED, the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors will determine appropriate disciplinary action.

Results of the investigation will be shared with the complainant and the respondent.

The identity of the parties involved or the circumstances of the complaint will not be disclosed, except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating, taking corrective action with respect to the incident or complaint or where such disclosure is required by law.

If the individual making the complaint is not satisfied with the outcome, they have the option of making a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. They may also choose this option without going through iSisters’ internal procedures.

3.0 Consequences

Inappropriate conduct as outlined in this policy constitutes serious misconduct and any individual found to have engaged in such misconduct will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including immediate termination of employment or contract.

Examples of discipline may include:

  1. Formal apology
  2. Letter of reprimand from iSisters
  3. Referral to counseling or training
  4. Removal of certain privileges
  5. Termination of volunteer position, contract, employment, or participation in the iSisters program

If it is determined that an individual has made a false complaint or with the intent to harm another person, such an allegation will be investigated and formal disciplinary action may be taken against the person. Conduct based on mistakes or misunderstandings shall not constitute malicious conduct.

Individuals will not be demoted, dismissed, disciplined or denied a promotion, advancement or employment opportunities because they rejected sexual advances of another individual or because they lodged a harassment, discrimination or workplace violence complaint in good faith.

4.0 Confidentiality

iSisters understands that it can be extremely difficult to come forward with a complaint and that it can be devastating to be wrongly accused of inappropriate behaviour under this policy. iSisters recognizes the interests of both the individual initiating a complaint (complainant) and the alleged “abuser”(respondent) in maintaining confidentiality.



  • Take every reasonable precaution to prevent and respond to workplace harassment, discrimination and violence;
  • Assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work;
  • Regularly review and maintain this policy;
  • Ensure all volunteers, contractors and employees have read and understood this policy.

Employees, Contractors and Volunteers:

  • Acquire a clear understanding of safe and respectful workplace behaviours;
  • Take positive measures to prevent and confront disrespectful behaviours;
  • Contribute to a discrimination and harassment free workplace by ensuring that behaviour is in compliance with this policy and by fostering a work environment that is based on mutual respect, free from harassment and discrimination.


  • If possible, ask the alleged abuser to stop;
  • Provide concrete examples (times, locations, content) related to the incident(s) or behaviour(s);
  • Refrain from discussing the fact that a complaint has been filed, or the allegations contained in the complaint, except with his or her representative or legal counsel, or except as directed by the workplace investigator;
  • Cooperate with the workplace investigator


  • Cooperate with the workplace investigator;
  • Refrain from discussing the fact that a complaint has been filed, or the allegations contained in the complaint, except with his or her representative or legal counsel, or except as directed by the workplace investigator;
  • Where the investigation results in a finding of harassment, violence or inappropriate behaviour under this policy, comply with any directions given by iSisters for the purpose of implementing the disciplinary action and corrective measures imposed.

The Board is responsible for the review and revision, if necessary, of this policy every year or as required by legislation.


  • iSisters Core Values
  • GOV – Partnership Policy
  • Workplace Violence Risk Assessment
  • EDI Statement
  • HR – Health and Safety Policy


  • Feb 18, 2014
  • May 31, 2016
  • Jun 18, 2019
  • Mar 17, 2020
  • May 18, 2021
  • Apr 19, 2022
  • Apr 18, 2023
  • Apr 16, 2024


Terms and Conditions