Building a foundation of respect - Part 3 | BuildForce Canada

Building a foundation of respect - Part 3

The Canadian construction industry is building respectful & inclusive workplaces for a strong future. Part 3.

The challenge:

Diversity in the workforce can result in cultural, social and gender differences, misunderstandings and conflicts.

The solution:

Understanding how to prevent or stop conflict such as harassment, bullying and discrimination.

Would you recognize harassment, bullying and discrimination?

  • Harassment: unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that is known or ought to be known to offend or humiliate a person or group.
    • Example: practical jokes that result in awkwardness or embarrassment.  
  • Bullying: hostility toward another person that is deliberate, repeated and sufficiently severe as to harm the targeted person's health, dignity, safety or ability to work.
    • Example: gossiping or spreading rumors that target a particular person.
  • Discrimination: an action or decision that results in differential treatment toward a person or group for reasons such as gender, race or age.
    • Example: refusing to work with someone because of his/her gender or racial background.
  • Sexual harassment: a form of harassment related to sex or gender and can include abuse of authority when an owner, employer, supervisor or employee in higher authority uses his/her authority to obtain sexual favours as a condition of employment or advancement.
    • Example: Repeated requests for dates with a person even though that person has repeatedly refused.


  1. Recognize that by law in all provinces and territories in Canada it is both an employer and employee's responsibility to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination.
  2. Think before you speak or act. When in doubt, leave it out.  
  3. If you witness harassment, bullying or discrimination, report it to your supervisor.
  4. You can speak privately to the target to offer support.
  5. You can speak to the harasser privately and explain how the behaviour comes across.


OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT: Understanding how changing expectations about the roles of men and women can contribute to harassment.

Previous installment: How respect, inclusion and diversity can create the  team that everyone wants to be a part of.




What would it mean on a worksite to treat workers from different backgrounds the way they want to be treated?

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This project has been funded by Status of Women Canada.