Parliament unveils new code to clamp down on harassment

Spells out unacceptable behaviour, how to handle complaints

OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canada's House of Commons unveiled a new code on Wednesday to clamp down on harassment by legislators and their staff in the wake of a scandal involving parliamentarians from the two main opposition parties.

The code, the first of its kind, aims to combat "inappropriate workplace behavior, emotional stress, physical problems, abuse, or harassment".

In an unprecedented move, the opposition Liberal Party kicked two members of Parliament out of its caucus last month following separate allegations of sexual misconduct by women members of the opposition New Democrats. The two Liberal members have denied the allegations.

House of Commons speaker Andrew Scheer said at the time he could do nothing since Parliament had no code to cover harassment and promised to create one quickly.

The code spells out what is deemed to be unacceptable behavior and advises victims on how to handle their complaints. Disciplinary matters are handled by political parties.

Parliament will also offer regular training sessions on harassment awareness, sensitivity, communication, and strategies for early conflict resolution.

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