New videos aim to empower P.E.I. workers about sexual harassment

A screenshot from a new animated video on sexual harassment in the workplace, one of two videos released by Community Legal Information's RISE program and the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission's Shift project. (Community Legal Information/Youtube - image credit)
A screenshot from a new animated video on sexual harassment in the workplace, one of two videos released by Community Legal Information's RISE program and the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission's Shift project. (Community Legal Information/Youtube - image credit)

Two new animated videos released this week on P.E.I. aim to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

The videos were created as a joint project of Community Legal Information's RISE program and the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission's Shift project.

"It's a difficult topic and can make people feel really uncomfortable and uncertain," said Sarah Denman-Wood, the Shift project manager at the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission.

"We just wanted to have something out there that folks can identify with and get some answers to some of their questions, and figure out where to go if they need some more help."

The videos were created with the goal of answering some frequent questions about sexual harassment in the workplace, said Denman-Wood.

"What is sexual harassment? What do I do if I experience it? How do I help someone if I see it happening?" she said.

"The first one is more so about awareness and identifying what it is, and the second video is more focused on what to do as a bystander if you witness this happening."

Workplace sexual harassment 'extremely prevalent'

The information included in the videos is available on the Shift website, but Denman-Wood said it's not always easy for people to find.

"Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming trying to get to the website and then find the information that you need," she said.

Workplace sexual harassment is "extremely prevalent" on P.E.I., she said.

Submitted by Sarah Denman-Wood
Submitted by Sarah Denman-Wood

In 2021, Shift conducted a survey of Islanders, and of the 1,600 people who responded, more than 1,000 of them said they had experienced sexual harassment at work.

Many of those respondents said they hadn't reported it, however, said Denman-Wood.

Talking about policies can help

Since new legislation passed in 2020, every business on P.E.I. needs to have a sexual harassment policy that clearly outlines how to get help.

And employees need to know about the policy for it to work, she said.

"Talking about it and making people aware that every business should have this policy. And if you don't know where your workplace policy is, ask," she said.

Denman-Wood hopes P.E.I. employers will use the videos to educate workers, and she plans to use them in her own training sessions.

"The more that they get used and seen, the more confident people will feel and more empowered they'll feel," she said.