Sask. launching workplace respect training for all government workers

The province is launching a workplace bullying and harassment training program for all government employees.

Program offered to all government employees for next four years

Sheldon Kennedy (left), co-founder of Respect Group Inc., and Greg Tuer (right), assistant chair of the public service commission, were on-hand to announce the program. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

The provincial government is implementing a workplace training program for all of its workers to address harassment and bullying.

Respect in the Workplace is a 90-minute online training course that deals with bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, mental health, managing emotions, transgender awareness, social media, recognizing and responding to incidents, as well as signs and symptoms of workplace issues.

"I think it's a very good project for the government, for the public service," said Minister Gene Makowsky after the announcement in Regina on Monday.

Minister Gene Makowsky told reporters the program is a "win-win" for government employees and those who deal with government employees. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

"Work places free from discrimination, free from harassment, bullying behaviour, that sort of thing, is a positive thing for individuals who work within our government, within executive government, but also our clients that interface with those employees."

The government is partnering with Respect Group Inc. on the project as part of its inclusion and healthy workplace strategies.

"The more knowledgeable we can have everyone, the better off we're going to be, the safer we're going to be and the healthier communities and organizations we're going to have," said Sheldon Kennedy, co-founder of Respect Group Inc. and former NHL player.

Sheldon Kennedy says the program is meant to educate and empower people on dealing with workplace bullying and harassment, among other things. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Kennedy commended the government for implementing the program for all employees, saying it's important everyone takes the course rather than a select few.

"That's when it's going to work the best," he said.

The program is meant to help people who experience harassment and bullying, among other things, but also to educate those who witness harassment and bullying.

"When we look at the impacts of bad behaviour, on abuse, bullying, harassment and discrimination, I mean it leads to depression, addiction, mental health issues, anxiety, the list goes on," Kennedy said.

"Our best way to defend against that is to empower the bystander."

The province says it's the first in Canada to launch a government-wide program like this and says it will be available for the next four years to all government employees.