It's Your SHIFT: time to end sexual harassment

TORONTO — Industry organizations ORHMA, THRC and OTEC launched a new free online training program for the hospitality industry, to help bring about change in the workplace on this timely and important issue.

At the announcement Nov. 30 from left: Dan Morrow, head of F&B, MLSE and ORHMA chair; Tony Elenis, president and CEO, ORHMA; Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women; Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Ontario; and Bill Pallett, Chair, THRC.

At the announcement Nov. 30 from left: Dan Morrow, head of F&B, MLSE and ORHMA chair; Tony Elenis, president and CEO, ORHMA; Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women; Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Ontario; and Bill Pallett, Chair, THRC.

TORONTO — Industry organizations ORHMA, THRC and OTEC launched a new free online training program called It's Your SHIFT to combat sexual harassment and violence in the hospitality industry.

It's Your SHIFT training, which is available online at no cost to all employees in the hospitality and tourism industry, includes five online modules, including a dedicated module for supervisors, managers and owners, along with job aids, resources and guidelines for the workplace. The program was developed by the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association in collaboration with Tourism HR Canada (THRC) and Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC).

Politicians, industry and association reps were on hand to announce the program at the Hyatt Regency Toronto Nov. 30.

It's an issue that's dominated the news recently. The hospitality industry employs 450,000 people in Ontario and many are frontline workers in restaurants, bars, hotels and motels who may witness a patron who is at risk of sexual violence or harassment. Because the industry employs a large number of youth, females and newcomers, many employees are also vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment in the workplace.

“It's in every industry — we're not immune to it,” said Tony Elenis, president and CEO of ORHMA, emphasizing that in working with OTEC and THRC on providing cohesive sexual harassment and violence training, the hospitality industry is taking a leadership role.

“There's no excuse for companies not to provide training on this important issue,” said Bill Pallett, chairman of the board for THRC since 2012. “It takes away the worry for small and medium sized enterprises that don't have HR infrastructure — it's a tool that's easy to use.”

“Many people experience violence or sexual harassment on our properties on a regular basis — employers, customers and employees,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women. “Young people, women and newcomers to Canada are disproportionally affected. This conversation has been a call to action.

“A long as women and girls feel unsafe in their daily lives, there will never be true equality, but we can change that,” she added.

The training modules are available online at www.itsyourshift.ca.