Labour Media release

Media advisory: Rally at Province House Wednesday 1 pm to demand legislators outlaw workplace bullying


Human Rights Organization to rally for changes to make workplace psychological harassment illegal

Equity Watch chooses “Wear Pink Day” to Urge Sitting Legislature to Outlaw Bullying

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26, 1 pm

WHERE: Outside Provincial Legislature, Granville Street

Nova Scotia is now the only jurisdiction in Canada that neither has legislation nor has publicly announced the intention of introducing legislation to outlaw bullying and psychological harassment in workplaces. All other provinces and the federal jurisdiction have or have promised a definition of workplace injury that includes psychological damage.

In June, the International Labour Organization, with Canada’s backing adopted a ground-breaking convention calling on member states to outlaw “violence and harassment” in the workplace, defined as “a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.”

Last June, the Nova Scotia Labour Board made a definitive ruling in the case of Annette MacDonald Harpell of Antigonish, who was bullied at work. The Labour Board said that psychological violence is not included in our Occupational Health and Safety Act and put the initiative conclusively in the government’s court.

Equity Watch is a human rights organization that campaigns for employment equity and against bullying, harassment and discrimination in Nova Scotia workplaces. It has been calling for such legislation for several months now and has met with representatives of all three parties at Province House. It is back at the legislature during this winter’s sitting to remind MLAs of this responsibility.

“This has taken so long and has been very disappointing and very traumatic to me personally,” says Harpell, “I went to OH&S because I thought they could give me some measure of justice. I’ve lost this round but the next round is for the government to change the law. Let’s make workplace bullying in Nova Scotia illegal.”

Pink Shirt Day began in 2007. A Grade 9 student at Central Kings Rural High School in the Annapolis Valley was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two fellow students urged everyone to wear pink in solidarity. Since then, it has spread to the rest of the country.

For more information, contact Larry Haiven,