Saskatchewan amends Employment Act to address workplace harassment

Amendments to Saskatchewan's Employment Act clarify that any unwelcome action of a sexual nature constitutes harassment.

Saskatchewan introduced amendments to the employment act last week that the province says will help “build better and safer workplaces.”

These amendments are following a regular review to Saskatchewan’s Employment Act and clarify that any unwelcome action of a sexual nature constitutes harassment.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said on Twitter that the newly introduced legislation will better support  employers and employees.

“Amendments to the Employment Act will add further clarification on sexual harassment and ensure that independent contractors, students and volunteers are protected from all forms of harassment,” Moe said.

The harassment provisions also cover independent contractors, students and volunteers.

Saskatchewan is now one of five jurisdictions to specifically reference sexual harassment in legislation that includes contract workers and volunteers. 

“The legislation that governs our employers and employees needs to address the challenges of the modern work environment, including protecting vulnerable workers,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. 

“These amendments will help us build a stronger, safer and healthier Saskatchewan.”

Additional amendments remove the requirement for the Labour Relations Board to exclude supervisory employees from the same bargaining unit as those they supervise, unless the employer and union have entered into an irrevocable election.

The board will instead be given authority to determine the appropriate bargaining unit, which may include a unit comprised only of supervisors. 

Transition provisions now authorize the board to hear applications from employers or unions to amend certification orders which removed supervisors from bargaining units.