About SHARP Workplaces
Sexual Harassment Advice, Response, and Prevention for Workplaces (SHARP Workplaces) is a five-year project developed and delivered in partnership by the Ending Violence Association of BC and Community Legal Assistance Society. We are grateful for the financial support of the Department of Justice Canada that makes this program possible.
The program aims to:
- increase public knowledge about workplace sexual harassment,
- to develop employers’ and workers’ skills, confidence, and ability to deal with workplace sexual harassment and help to prevent it, and,
- to improve access to legal support and resources for people who experience workplace sexual harassment.
What is workplace sexual harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour of a sexual or gender-based nature that has a negative effect on the work environment or causes job-related problems for the person who is being harassed.
It can happen:
- in the workplace or outside of it, and
- during working hours or after working hours.
The Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) is a dynamic, solutions-based provincial non-profit association that trains and supports more than 300 anti-violence programs and cross-sector initiatives across BC that respond to sexual and domestic violence, child abuse, criminal harassment and workplace bullying and sexual harassment.
We have been a leader in this field for more than 30 years and have developed extensive experience in creating policies, procedures, best practices and training to create safer cultures to prevent and address incidences of harassment, abuse, and violence. Our workplace-focused training and resources cover topics such as responding to reports and disclosures of sexual harassment and violence, policy and legislation, conducting workplace investigations, managing safety and transforming workplace culture.
The Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) provides free confidential legal advice — including information and advice on legal options, processes, and remedies — to people in BC who have experienced workplace sexual harassment. Clients may get up to five hours of legal advice from a lawyer about provincial and federal human rights, employment and labour law, workers’ compensation, and criminal law as needed.
CLAS takes a holistic, trauma-informed approach to its work. This means that staff understands that
clients might be affected by trauma and work to create a safe environment to help clients make their own choices. CLAS gives clients referrals to other services, such as counselling. If a client can’t meet in-person with a lawyer, they can get legal advice by telephone or video conference.
To date we’ve developed:
- Training resources and easily-accessed guidelines to build employers’ and workers’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities related to workplace sexual harassment
- Referral networks among service providers
- Adaptable policy templates and training for employers and workers
- A free legal advice clinic
- A wide variety of legal education material, freely available online.
After almost 30 years of experience in the anti-violence sector, Perminder’s commitment to facilitating culturally responsive and trauma-informed access to violence prevention services for victims and survivors across diverse communities is unwavering.
Perminder is a graduate of SFU and her career commenced with providing direct services to victims of crime and counselling support to survivors of gender-based and sexual violence. Prior to joining EVA BC, she worked at MOSAIC in various roles and had the opportunity to develop and implement programs that addressed the intersecting systems which create barriers for multiculturally diverse communities. She used her knowledge gained from working front line to inform the development of new projects and initiatives to support survivors and service providers. Perminder has contributed to the development of multiple trainings, policies and best practices across sectors and nationally.
In her role as an EVA BC Project Lead, Perminder brings her enthusiasm and expertise to supporting the development of the SHARP Workplace Sexual Harassment Program and to working with the EVA BC team.
Ninu has held numerous leadership positions in her career, including as Board President at both the Women’s Research Centre and the Battered Women’s Support Services. Ninu was one of the founding members of the Punjabi Women’s Association and of the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence. She also co-chaired the Ending Relationship Abuse Society of BC.
During nearly 30 years at MOSAIC, Ninu served as a member of the Executive Leadership Team in addition to her work in the community, such as leading the Surrey Organizing Against Racism and Hate Network to facilitate dialogue to establish best practices, raise public awareness about racism and hate activities, and develop response strategies to address these issues in Surrey.
With an academic background in economics and counselling psychology, Ninu has worked as a researcher and consultant on projects with a community-based action focus. She has facilitated training in anti-violence and anti-racism across the world, and is recognized as a leader and visionary in the field. As well, she has consulted with various women’s groups and community organizations about issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
On a personal note, Ninu enjoys hiking, yoga, meditation, and sharing vegetables from her garden with neighbours. Born in India, she moved to Canada at age ten and says she embraces her role of “walking in two cultures” within Surrey’s South Asian community.
Jennifer is Supervising Lawyer and Project Manager for CLAS’s SHARP Workplaces. She established the SHARP Workplaces legal clinic in 2020. Jennifer provides legal advice and delivers education and training on workplace sexual harassment.
Jennifer graduated from Mount Allison University with a Bachelor of Science and obtained her law degree from Dalhousie University. She was admitted to the Law Society of BC in 1997. She has practiced primarily human rights, employment and labour law.
Jennifer has dedicated her career to addressing access to justice, human rights and gender issues. Prior to joining CLAS, Jennifer worked for Legal Services Society (Legal Aid BC) opening legal aid offices across the province. She has worked internationally leading projects to improve access to justice and human rights in Africa and Asia. She has been a past Board member for West Coast LEAF, West Coast Domestic Workers Association (now Migrant Workers Centre) and a legal aid clinic in Ontario.
Jacqui joined the Community Legal Assistance Society in early 2020; she has a proven track record and extensive experience in diverse organizations within complex regulatory and governance frameworks in the non-profit, community and private sectors. Her work has included strategic planning, stakeholder relations, advocacy, governance, operations, human resources, finance and communications.
Previously Jacqui was instrumental in creating and leading the BC Notaries Association which provides support for notaries providing legal and real estate services in the province. She worked for many years in the social housing sector with the BC Non-Profit Housing Society (BCNPHA), helping to grow the organization in the social housing community and as a key voice in assisting non-profit landlords and community organizations to serve those in need across the province. Her career has included supporting the fine arts and the theatre at the Tate Gallery and the Royal Court Theatre in the United Kingdom respectively, and working in the private sector in retail and wholesale distribution in her home country of Guyana, South America.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of London, UK. Giving back as a volunteer board member is one of her personal commitments, and Jacqui continues to serve on non-profit community boards to support anti-racism, seniors, affordable housing and the fine arts.
Coral is a Cree lawyer from Northern Saskatchewan with the SHARP Workplaces Program at Community Legal Assistance Society. She joined CLAS in Jaunary 2018 as a Legal Advocate in the Mental Health Law Program.
Coral obtained her B.A. Honours in International Studies Cooperation and Conflict with minors in history and political studies from the University of Saskatchewan. Coral went on to graduate from UBC Law and was called to the bar by the Law society of Ontario. In addition, Coral has an M.A. in socio-legal studies from the University of the Basque Country.
Airika Owen is the Executive Administrator for the Northern Society for Domestic Peace in Northern BC. As a former journalist, Airika came to her role in the organization as a grant writer, securing funding for the variety of social service programs the Society operates. Now, she is the finance administrator, head of Second Stage housing, on the housing development team for two new builds the Society is undertaking and leads the CAMP/CAMPUS program.
In 2018 Airika and two NSDP counsellors developed and began delivering annual presentations about sexual harassment and assault on Canadian university campuses for graduating rural and Indigenous students who were leaving their home support networks for city post-secondary education. That CAMPUS project continues but has since expanded to include geographically-isolated reforestation camps.
Now Airika and a team of NSDP presenters work with many companies across central and Northern BC and into Alberta to deliver the CAMP program; sexual harassment and assault training for co-ed camp-based workplaces.
In 2020, despite Covid-19 interruptions, the CAMP team were able to fund and run a collaborative project with industry and government to explore system changes for reducing assaults and harassment in treeplanting camps and were able to produce industry-specific training videos for use in future CAMP presentations. Airika is thrilled to be working with the SHARP team to explore more ways to raise awareness and reduce the rates of workplace harassment and assaults.
Amina El mantari is a community change maker. Making the difference is one of her top core values. She moved to North Vancouver from Morocco in 2006 she had no idea the direction her life would take. Flash forward 16 years, and she’s an active, happy member of her community, with a thriving career and growing daughter. Fluent in three languages, and conversant in two more, Amina is not only a skilled linguist but a talented professional with a knack for identifying and nurturing talent.
Amina’s professional focus is human resources and people engagement. She currently hold a role of People & Culture Specialist at Neptune Bulk Terminals. She is the driver behind internal staff engagement initiatives, crafting policies and procedures and she leads the coaching of Neptune staff at all levels. She is Certified Coach and continuing her professional development with plans to pursue her Master Engagement Strategist Coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Over the course of her career she has led Policy and Governance Committee, Employee issues management, and diversity and inclusion functions.
Amina is not content to simply work: Amina has continued serving her community. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Capilano Alumni Association, and volunteered for both the North Shore Crisis Services Society and the Parkgate Community Services Society. Amina was first place Winner of Soroptimist International Award of the North Shore in 2016, an organization working to improve the lives of girls and women in the North Shore, and later she was awarded the Capilano University Alumni Association Unified Award of Excellence in 2018.
Her goal to join SHARP Workplaces Advisory Committee is to bring the change to workplaces around Gender-based sexual violence and provide tools and initiatives that support employers and employees to voice those issues in the workplaces process and policies.
She is always delighted to talk about coaching, law, cross-culture, supporting mental health, and feminism.
Donalda lives in Valemount BC, where she has worked with Robson Valley Community Services (RVCS) for over a decade. Currently she is the Manager of Therapeutic Services and Quality Assurance, but has held a variety of roles over the years including: Safe Home Coordinator, STV and PEACE Counsellor, Anti-Violence and Early Years program Supervisor.
She co-chairs RVCS’s local Community Coordination for Women’s Safety (CCWS) and Integrated Case Assessment Team (ICAT).
Additionally, before moving into management, Donalda was the agency’s Union Shop Steward for 3 years and worked in organizing for the same union during two extended leaves of absence.
Elaine Alec (she/her) is an author, political advisor, women’s advocate and spiritual thought leader and teacher and is a direct descendant of hereditary chiefs, Pelkamulaxw and Soorimpt.
For over two decades, Elaine has been leading expert in Indigenous community planning, health advocacy and creating safe spaces utilizing Indigenous approaches and ceremony. She is the author of “Calling My Spirit Back” a book which links an extremely personal examination of lived experience to a much broader overview of serious national sociological concerns, accompanied by tangible steps to approach them.
Alec was a founding member of the Comprehensive Community Planning Mentorship Initiative in British Columbia. She is a founding partner at Alderhill Planning Inc. and is a regular speaker at conferences and workshops on the topic of Indigenous planning, governance, healing and trauma informed approaches in planning.
She is involved in the SHARP Workplaces Advisory Committee, a board member with the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives (CCPA-BC) and recently completed a 3-year term as the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Women’s Representative where she advocated for Indigenous women and girls safety through facilitating safe spaces to plan and drive policy change at various levels of government.
Elaine resides in Kamloops, British Columbia with her husband Ryan Day and is the proud mom of Kyle, Raven, Phoenix and Teslin.
Margery Pazdor is a staff lawyer at the Disability Law Clinic at Disability Alliance BC, where she advises people with disabilities on a variety of legal issues, including human rights and discrimination. Opened in March 2020, the Disability Law Clinic is the first non-profit community legal clinic in BC that specialises in disability rights law.
Prior to joining DABC, Margery advised employers, unions, and employees about their rights and obligations in the workplace, and worked on class action lawsuits representing people with disabilities who experienced abuse and neglect while institutionalized, and women who experienced sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
Roop Johal moved from England to Canada in 2009. Enamored with the greenery and beautiful mountain views of the west coast, immigrating to Vancouver, British Columbia was a natural fit. With her passion for entrepreneurship and community engagement, she actively supports her local community in both her career and volunteer capacity.
Health and fitness is an important part of Roop’s life. In her free time, she loves to exercise and enjoys photography. She also has sat on community fundraising boards such as the BCSPCA event committee. Her goal is to continue to support her community whilst developing her career in the business.
As a female, minority, and immigrant entrepreneur with a disability, she can offer valuable perspective in the development of the EVA SHARP Workplaces program.
Roop works as the Business Development and Sponsorship Manager at Small Business BC.