Most cases of bullying in Quebec preventable

97 per cent of complaints settled out of court
||Last Updated: 10/24/2007

Most complaints of psychological harassment in Quebec could have been avoided, according to a new report.

“In light of the complaints received, we find that instances of reproachable conduct could have been avoided if preventative measures had been put in place in these undertakings,” said André Brochu, executive director of Quebec’s Commission des normes du travail.

Three years after Quebec introduced its anti-psychological harassment legislation, an analysis of the 6,850 complaints filed found half of the employees tried, unsuccessfully, to solve the situation before filing a complaint. Another 38 per cent did not report the situation to their employer before contacting the commission.

The commission’s resolution process has been a success with 97 per cent of all complaints being settled and only very few having to be referred to the Commission des relations du travail for a hearing.

In three-quarters of the complaints, the employer or one of his representatives is identified as the alleged harasser.

To try and reduce this number, the Commission des normes du travail has teamed up with Quebec’s human resources association to create a seminar to educate employers and employees about the difference between normal management practices and an abuse of power that results in psychological harassment.

The content of the seminar, Psychological Harassment or Management Problems, is available online at


Profile of the 6,850 complainants:

• 63 per cent of complainants are women

• 95 per cent of the alleged harassment situations were repetitive

• 438 complaints were transferred to the Commission des relations du travail for a hearing with 202 having been settled

• One-third of complaints end with an agreement between the parties

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