A Statistics Canada report released on Monday says 19 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men aged 15 to 64 reported in 2016 that they experienced at least one type of harassment in the workplace in the previous 12 months.
The results in the report titled Harassment in Canadian workplaces were based on the 2016 General Social Survey.
“Workplace harassment refers to objectionable or unwelcome conduct, comments, or actions by an individual at any event or location related to work that can reasonably be expected to offend, intimidate, humiliate or degrade,” said the federal agency.
“In 2016, the most common type of workplace harassment reported by Canadian workers was verbal abuse, with 13 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men reporting having experienced verbal abuse in the previous 12 months. The next most common type of harassment reported by Canadian workers was humiliating behaviour, which was reported by six per cent of women and five per cent of men. Men and women were equally likely to report having experienced threats in the workplace (three per cent).”
It also found that about four per cent of women and less than one per cent of men reported having experienced sexual harassment or unwanted sexual attention in the workplace.
And about three per cent of women reported having experienced physical violence in the workplace over the past 12 months, compared with about one per cent of men.
“Women were more likely than men to report that they had been harassed by a client or a customer. Among people who said they were harassed in the past year at work, 53 per cent of women said a client or customer was responsible, compared with 42 per cent of men,” said the report.
“Among men who reported having experienced workplace harassment, the next most common source of harassment was their supervisor or manager (39 per cent). Among women, it was colleagues and peers (34 per cent).”
It found that workers in health occupations had a 23 per cent probability of reporting that they had been harassed in the workplace – 27 per cent for women and 21 per cent for men.
Workers in natural and applied sciences (which includes occupations such as engineers and computer and information system professionals) had a nine per cent probability of reporting having experienced workplace harassment.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.