Alberta agency launches ground-breaking initiative to help create sexual harassment-free workspaces

CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As workplace sexual harassment remains a persistent problem affecting one in five Alberta workers, a new campaign led by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS), in partnership with Justice Canada, focuses on what may be the missing link: workplace culture.

Most people understand that workplace culture is important for employee well-being, team success, and job performance. A caring and inclusive work culture is also an important primary defence against sexual harassment. Such behaviour is less likely to occur in positive work cultures and more likely to be effectively addressed if it does happen.

The Alberta-wide, three-year campaign called #momentsmatter celebrates workplace cultures that promote psychological safety, success and career growth, and an effective response to sexual harassment. Whereas traditional sexual harassment awareness initiatives focus on forbidden behaviors, #momentsmatter turns tradition on its head, using positive modelling to motivate ‘copycat’ behavior.

“Rather than focusing on what not to do, this campaign is showing people what to do,” says Corinne Ofstie, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) and recognized leader in the sector. “This campaign is showcasing the powerful effects that a positive work culture can have on individual and organizational well-being–and illustrating how easy it can be to create those cultures–one moment at a time.”

As organizations continue to address the health and safety challenges of COVID and look for ways to stay competitive, the campaign inspires greater productivity, teamwork and loyalty. “We invite people and organizations from across the province to join our collective effort to grow positive workplace cultures that support equity, diversity and inclusion, keep workers healthy and safe, and help stop sexual harassment,” added Ofstie. 

Sexual harassment remains a persistent problem in Alberta. According to a recent Leger survey:

  • 1 in 5 (22%) workers has been sexually harassed at work
  • 1 in 4 (24%) have witnessed it
  • Nearly 1 in 2 (42%) have heard of it happening
  • With 2.2 million employed Albertans those statistics represent nearly 1.5M workers
  • Just over 1 in 3 workers (36%) would report an incident to a leader or manager.
  • Even fewer (15%) would report to Human Resources.

Through simple, relatable stories, the campaign shows Alberta leaders how easy it can be to strengthen and grow positive workplace cultures that help people feel safe and supported, help them grow and succeed – and help stop sexual harassment. Social science research suggests that sharing good work stories is the best way to create more of them – leading to safe, healthy, inclusive, and productive Alberta workplaces.

The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services provides leadership, coordination, and collaboration of sexual assault services in Alberta.

#650, 910 – 7th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 3N8
T: 403.237.6905 x 224
E: [email protected]
www.aasas.ca


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