Quebec extends $2.4 million to Juripop to help victims of harassment at work

Quebec extends $2.4 million to Juripop to help victims of harassment at work
Quebec extends $2.4 million to Juripop to help victims of harassment at work

MONTREAL — Quebec is paying $2.4 million to the Juripop clinic so that it can offer free legal advice services to support and accompany victims of sexual harassment at work.

The Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet, made the announcement Friday morning accompanied by the general director of Juripop, Me Sophie Gagnon.

The aid will be spread over four years with an annual amount of $600,000 until 2027-2028. These amounts will allow the legal clinic to “give a helping hand” to around 300 people per year, Mr. Boulet said at a press conference in Montreal.

“This will apply to people who will present a complaint of sexual harassment under the Act respecting labor standards or a claim to obtain compensation from the CNESST alleging that it is a work accident,” said explained the minister.

These new Juripop services will allow a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace to speak to a specialized lawyer in order to receive support during a CNESST investigation or when negotiating an agreement for compensation. She could also be represented during mediation, detailed Me Gagnon.

“We think that these services will make an immense, real difference for the victims and will also facilitate the processing of cases for the employer, in addition to reinforcing procedural fairness for the person accused,” said she commented.

This announcement follows the adoption last March of a bill aimed at preventing and combating psychological harassment and sexual violence in the workplace.

The assistance stems from recommendations by a committee of three professors, formulated in anticipation of the study and adoption of the law. They argued that the plaintiffs lacked support to be adequately represented during an appeal.

“What the experts recommended to me is to ensure better fairness in representation, rather than the victim being, for example, at an investigation or at a mediation session unrepresented before an employer who often benefits totally different services,” said Mr. Boulet.

According to Me Gagnon, the reality affecting cases of sexual harassment in the workplace is “formidably complex”. Different laws can be applied to the same situation.

“The exercise of a remedy may compromise or modify the exercise of another remedy. So, there is a very great need to obtain legal advice to demystify these laws, and make informed and strategic decisions,” she said.

The Commission for Equity, Health and Safety Standards at Work will be able to put a victim in contact with Juripop when it has deemed a complaint or request for a claim admissible, explained Mr. Boulet.

The CAQ minister indicated that between 1,200 and 1,250 files are currently open at the CNESST for cases where there is behavior of a sexual nature.



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