BC Chamber program helps businesses get up to speed

Businesses scrambling to get up to speed on the province’s new workplace bullying and harassment legislation are getting help from a special online program offered by the BC Chambers of Commerce.

What’s great about it is that employers and their workers can take specific program that suit them any time any place.

The new program, called Respect in the Workplace is being pushed hard by the BC Chamber.

"It’s all about educating and empowering people to know what to do and to do the right thing and not feel they need to stick their head in the sand and not get involved," said Brad Blaisdell, managing director or of Respect in the Workplace, a program connected to Sheldon Kennedy’s Respect in Sport program. "A lot of these issues can be dealt with when they occur if people are willing and able to stand up and know what to do and feel safe to do it."

According to Blaisdell, managing director, it’s time for businesses to get moving.

"With regards to Bill 14, it really covers three key things with regard to what organizations need to do: One, to develop policy around discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Two, set up procedures for each employee to understand basically the route they take if they witness or experience themselves discrimination or harassment or bullying. Three, ensure they provide pro-active training to each and every employee regardless of the size of the organization.

The law came into force as of Nov. 1 but a lot of businesses are not aware of it, or are just realizing it, and Respect in the Workplace can help.

"We’ve set up an arrangement that enables members with the 126 various chambers in the province of B.C. to take advantage of our online interactive training program," Blaisdell related. "It’s designed to be delivered to each and every employee in the organization at a reduced rate. The BC Chamber expressed interest once they saw what we were doing."

The delivery method enables organizations from three employees to 30,000 employees to train

and receive consistent messaging that has no restrictions as far as geographic locations.

"As long as people have Internet access, which the majority of people do, they are able to complete and get certification that they have successfully completed the program."

Businesses are asking questions and the Respect in the Workplace provides answers, he said.

"Once people understand it, they realize this is the right thing to do. I want to ensure my employees are safe in an environment where there is minimal risk around these issues happening.

And they are pretty receptive to it," he said.

Respect in the Workplace follows

the template set up by Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, whose Respect in Sport program has already made an impact nationwide.

"Today, there are over 80 sport organizations in Canada that mandate Respect in Sport, so if you are a coach or a parent within your sporting organizations, you need to be certified in that program in order for you or your child to participate.

"Since that time, the two other programs: Respect in School and Respect in the Workplace were developed with the same platform, the same technology that Respect in Sport generated."

Because there’s no specific start time, people can come and join up at any time. No one has to shut down their business for a day while everyone gets classroom training.

The program also offers one-on-one privacy.

"If people are considering a classroom-based facilitated session for their employees there could be fear and anxiety as far as people wanting to openly participate when they are in the same room with the individuals as they may be having issues with," Blaisdell said.

Once people are certified, the atmosphere at the workplace changes. "We have a lot of good statistics following implementation with the change that organizations see and it’s very positive all around. And it’s a very cost-effective way to do it," Blaisdell said.

For more information about Respect in the Workplace, visit bcchamber. org or contact Brad Blaisdell at bblaisdell@respectgroupinc.com or call 604-239-5523.